Super Tuesday, the non-political version

Super Tuesday in Yankee Universe isn’t about the primaries or which candidate is the least offensive to be their party’s main representative in the final election come November. No, in Yankee Universe, Super Tuesday this year is the last day before Spring Training and thus the last day of the off-season. Now, technically, other teams have already started. A few teams have played some exhibition games against some college teams, and 8 teams started Spring games today. But the Yankees start tomorrow.

And it’s shaping up to be a pretty good one. Tampa is in the midst of a nice warm weather spell, and the boys in pinstripes are looking rather good. With a mixed presence of veteran starters and depth of youth into the minor leagues, the Yankees are ready for a good 2016, hungry for that elusive 28th team championship.

In preparation, the Yankees opted to skip practice today to have a bit of a team-building day. A guest lecturer (if you can really call him that) came in and led the guys in exercises and activities to encourage communication and getting out of your comfort zone. It allowed for the newer and the younger guys to get to know each other as well as the starting veterans know one another. They were allowed time to share personal stories and bond that will translate well to the field wherever they play in the organization.

Sunday, Steinbrenner Field was a mix of preparations and pre-season workouts. And a little bit of wild life interaction. A raccoon, to be more specific. While they were hanging the net behind home plate (for the safety of the fan seated in the “hot zone” there), a raccoon climbed up the net all the way to the top, where a stadium employee was checking the rigging. At first, they tried to catch it, but like many critters, it was reluctant to be caught.Then an attempt to poke and annoy the raccoon into heading back down the net backfired as he plummeted the 30-ish feet down to the seats below. But no worries! The little guy scurried his way around the stadium for some time before squirreling his way out of the stadium fence and into the surrounding brush just beyond the stadium boundaries. And that was all about the raccoon who was almost an Yankee.

The MLB came down with a decision today regarding Aldrois Chapman and the lingering domestic violence charge. He is the first player to face consequences under the new MLB Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse policy. He accepted a 30-game (of the regular season) suspension, rather than appeal and face far more time and risk free agency deals. He is eligible to play in all Spring Training games and will be back to play May 9. This decision comes after MLB did their own investigation into the incident, including a personal interview with Chapman (and his lawyer).

(Note: You can read more details on the incident in the linked MLB article, but know that local prosecutors have opted not to prosecute Chapman for the incident due to “conflicting accounts and insufficient evidence that would have made the conviction unlikely.” MLB can always choose to impose discipline as it sees fit as long as it fits within the standards negotiated with the MLBPA (the players’ union). More information, including a statement or comment from Cashman or Girardi should be coming on Wednesday.)

Minor team updates: Nathan Eovaldi is taking things slow, nursing a bit of an injury to his groin. A few pitchers have taken a few balls off various body parts (the back and “upper thigh” region seem to be popular targets for batters), but all seems to be well, save a few bruises. Offseason injuries that plagued the likes of Brett Gardner and Masahiro Tanaka are showing slow progress, with both veterans looking to make a strong 2016 impression. And Alex Rodriguez won’t be on the roster for the Spring Opener tomorrow as the young starter Luis Severino takes the mound against the visiting Tigers, but Rodriguez expects to play at Thursday and Saturday’s games.

Go Yankees!

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