We're still a few days away from the first full-squad workout, but there's already plenty to talk about in Yankee camp this spring. Pitchers and catchers have all arrived, press conferences have been held, arms are loosening, gloves are popping, and hills are being run. The spring story cycle is only going to quicken once the rest of the team shows up on Wednesday, so here are my thoughts on the major stories from the first few days. - Joe held his big camp-opening presser last Thursday, and I couldn't help but notice the number of beat guys who commented on the "awkward" or "uncomfortable" nature of what he said regarding the Aroldis Chapman situation. Maybe I've just gotten a little dull to the over-dramatic MSM spin, but did I miss something? There was nothing there. Joe deferred to MLB and the commissioner's investigation when asked about the suspension, acknowledged that it was a serious issue, and said he wanted to get to know Chapman better before judging him. What's awkward about any of that? What else was he supposed to say? The new domestic violence policy is a big talking point this spring and for good reason, but do we really need to be injecting more drama into a manager's press conference answers to drive that point home? Doesn't the seriousness of the subject matter already speak for itself?
- It's a small detail, but it was good to find out that Teix has been running with no issues since the beginning of the year. I remember being a little bit worried when that timeline was first laid out, so having it confirmed that he's on target with his rehab and ready to start baseball activities this week is reassuring. Teix is easily the most important position player on this team and most difficult to replace.
- Speaking of which, it sounds like it's only a matter of time before the Yankees announce they've signed Chris Parmelee, who dropped this on Instagram yesterday. Parmelee is a lefty-hitting first baseman who has basically settled into a Quad-A depth role at this stage of his career. He's a .245/.311/.396 hitter in just over 1,000 career MLB plate appearances, but he did hit .314/.386/.444 in Triple-A last year. The Yankees need some insurance for Teix with Greg Bird on the shelf and Parmelee fits that role well. I imagine he got a MiL deal with a ST invite, and hopefully there's no opt-out clause built into that. I have to imagine Parmelee would welcome the chance to play regularly in Triple-A and be the next in line for a call up should the injury bug strike.
- Via Chad Jennings, we found out yesterday that Carlos Corporan does have an opt-out in his MiL deal and that's yet another interesting wrinkle to add to the Gary Sanchez situation. The Yankees are likely to lose both Corporan and Austin Romine when spring camp ends, and that would leave them pretty thin at the upper levels of their system. Knowing that, I think I could see the Yankees keeping one of the vets to open the season as McCann's backup and stashing Sanchez in Triple-A if he struggles in any way during ST games. It would be a safe, smart play considering the depth hit they're likely to take, and I'm sure the front office would have no problem avoiding some service time accrual and pushing Sanchez's free agency back a year.
- All eyes and cell phone cameras were on Saturday's bullpen session, when big hosses Chapman, Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, and CC Sabathia all threw. That's a lot of dude right there. Chapman was understandably the highlight and he drew plenty of praise from the beat crew for the appearance and sound of his stuff. Regardless of what you think about him as a person, he's going to be really fun to watch.
- Same goes for Betances, and I'm interested in seeing how Joe uses him this spring. Remember last year when there was all the early hullabaloo about Betances' velocity and command and it took him a few weeks to get going in the regular season? Betances said he felt like he didn't get to throw enough in the spring and that he likes to work more because he believes it helps his mechanics and command. Coming into camp this year he's saying again that he wants to work on his fastball command, and I wonder if Joe will give him a little more time to do that over the next month and change. Doesn't have to be in games necessarily, just let him throw a few more bullpens. Betances has shown he can carry a big workload, so if he feels more comfortable and better prepared with more work, let him have it.
- I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, but I was surprised to read so much talk about top pitching prospect James Kaprielian possibly making it to the Majors in 2016 as if that would be a positive for the organization. Don't get me wrong, I think Kaprielian is going to be a stud and I think he'll make himself into a universal top 50 prospect with his performance this season. And if he is that good, the Yankees should definitely not waste time keeping him in the lower levels. But if he makes it all the way to the show this year, that probably means a bunch of guys ahead of him on the depth chart got hurt. I'm talking multiple guys in the Triple-A and big league rotations, and that would certainly not be a good thing. I'm all for considering Kap for a rotation break-in in 2017, but if he's pitching in the big leagues at any point this year, something has gone horribly wrong.