Volpe 'trying to be a sponge' in Yanks camp

March 18th, 2022

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Anthony Volpe may be part of the Yankees’ future, but for nearly five innings on Friday, New York’s No. 1 prospect was part of the club’s present.

Volpe played the back half of Friday’s Grapefruit League opener, a 4-3 loss to the Pirates at LECOM Park, striking out on a borderline called third strike in his lone at-bat. The 20-year-old made a pair of nice plays in the field, charging a chopper in the seventh and turning a tough double play in the eighth.

“It's an awesome learning experience,” said Volpe, the No. 8 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. “Just being in the dugout the first couple innings when I wasn’t even playing, just trying to be a sponge, keep my ears as open as I can. I think I learned a lot today, and I hope to learn a lot going forward.”

Manager Aaron Boone has said he plans to bring Volpe over from Minor League camp “quite a bit” this spring, giving the youngster some exposure to both the big league game and some of his veteran Yankees teammates.

“Any time you come over and you're playing in big league Spring Training games, it's another step in the process, another layer of the experience,” Boone said. “With him and from a makeup standpoint, I think there's something to gain from this, but … we have a lot of confidence in what his future is going to be.”

The Yankees traded for Isiah Kiner-Falefa last week to address their need at shortstop, choosing not to make a play for one of this offseason’s star free agents at the position. Hal Steinbrenner cited the team’s belief in Volpe and fellow shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza, but Volpe isn’t allowing himself to think any further ahead than this season, which he is likely to open at Double-A Somerset.

“Double-A is 15 minutes from my house,” said Volpe, a native of Watchung, N.J. “I feel like it's such a unique, surreal, awesome opportunity that if I thought too far ahead from that, it would take away from that experience. I'm just looking forward to starting the year off strong.”