TAMPA — Simply two batters into the exhibition season, Toronto’s Marcus Semien hit a ball to shallow proper subject.
Aaron Choose raced in and briefly regarded like he was going to aim a diving catch and many of the 2,637 followers at George M. Steinbrenner Area probably cringed on the considered the suitable fielder crashing to the turf so quickly into spring coaching, given his damage historical past.
Choose, although, neatly pulled up and let the ball fall in for a single and the Yankees survived their first sport of the spring — seemingly — with no well being points.
Whereas which may look like a easy activity, it hasn’t been for the Yankees in recent times. And a lot of what they wish to do that season is tied to retaining gamers like Choose on the sector.
So think about Sunday’s 6-Four loss in seven innings to the Blue Jays a hit.
As a result of if the Yankees find yourself going the place they intend, they’ve received a protracted option to get there.
It’s why Choose — who missed all of final spring coaching with a fractured rib suffered the earlier season on an analogous play to the one he didn’t try Sunday — isn’t in a rush to get an excessive amount of sport motion.
Not solely did Choose and his teammates keep upright, there have been another promising indicators.
Maybe essentially the most notable got here within the prime of the second, when Gleyber Torres raced to his left and made a pleasant scoop of a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. grounder up the center, turning it into a simple out.
Whether or not that was only a stable play from an inconsistent shortstop or an indication that Torres has certainly, because the Yankees hope, began to show the nook defensively, gained’t be recognized till the video games begin to rely.
“Through the offseason, I ready myself to be extra constant on protection,’’ Torres stated. “I attempt to not fear about my protection from final yr. It’s occurred already. I’m centered now on being prepared for every pitch. I labored so exhausting throughout the offseason and the couple of days of spring coaching to attempt to present confidence and play the sport.”
Torres was one other key Yankee who battled accidents final season, as did Giancarlo Stanton.
So Aaron Boone stated Stanton — together with the just lately signed Brett Gardner — gained’t play in a sport till Wednesday night time in opposition to the Blue Jays in Tampa, skipping Monday in opposition to the Tigers and Tuesday’s journey to Sarasota to go to the Orioles.
Choose, although, stated he plans on enjoying in Sarasota on Tuesday, in addition to Wednesday night time, because the Yankees provide you with a schedule for the 28-year-old.
“We’ll slowly ease into it,’’ stated Choose, who intends to play on daily basis in nine-inning video games within the closing week of spring coaching.
“We’re taking it gradual proper now,’’ Choose stated.
Like Torres, Choose centered this offseason on not simply enhancing his manufacturing on the sector, but in addition his capability to remain on it.
“There have been a pair issues with my swing I wished to alter and be somewhat extra constant,’’ Choose stated. “And get my physique prepared for 162 [games] and the postseason. That’s a aim of mine.”
Avoiding damage has been a problem with Choose and he’s hoping to eradicate that a part of his résumé.
“Consistency is the most important factor,’’ Choose stated. “And exhibiting up on daily basis.”
A part of exhibiting up for Choose has been his interplay with followers — particularly younger ones — by enjoying catch with them and signing autographs.
Each are no-nos within the COVID world, however Choose did what he may Sunday, by tossing a ball into the right-field stands after warming up.
“It’s powerful,’’ Choose stated of not with the ability to have interaction with followers as a lot. “I suppose I simply must let my play be the connection. Placed on a present. I feel that’s all you may actually do. … You’ve received to be old fashioned and placed on present for the followers.”