TAMPA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton is scheduled to wear the pinstripes for the first time in a game situation on Friday, stepping up to the plate when the Yankees open their Grapefruit League slate with a 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field, live on
TAMPA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton is scheduled to wear the pinstripes for the first time in a game situation on Friday, stepping up to the plate when the Yankees open their Grapefruit League slate with a 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field, live on MLB.TV.
Stanton has said that he expected to be somewhat out of his comfort zone early in camp, but the National League MVP Award winner seems to have hit the ground running in early drills, fitting in seamlessly while drawing crowds in a batting practice group that has included Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Jacoby Ellsbury.
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"It's more just getting used to a new place," Stanton said. "Big expectations, a bigger market. I've done the same thing for 10 years straight, same Spring Training, same organization. This is all new to me, and it's going to be a fun new ride."
Luis Cessa is scheduled to start the Grapefruit League opener, with Brett Gardner, Judge and Sanchez expected to sit out. Judge was given a half-day on Thursday as the Yanks ease him back from surgery on his left shoulder.
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"He's been ramped up pretty good," manager Aaron Boone said of Judge. "He's doing well. Right on schedule to be ready to go in a game next week."
Boone added that Sanchez's absence was not related to the benches-clearing incident with the Tigers last August. As for Stanton's debut, Boone said that it is "absolutely" an event that the Yankees are looking forward to.
"There will be a little excitement with the crowd and the pinstripes and actually playing a game, and playing another team," Boone said. "I think you get some juices flowing for that."
Brandon Drury tried to block out the trade rumors as best he could over the winter, and again this spring, but when D-backs general manager Mike Hazen reported this week that a deal had been reached with the Yankees, the 25-year-old infielder was thrilled.
"I'm pumped," Drury said. "This is an unbelievable opportunity here, to come play for the New York Yankees. It's a dream come true, ever since I was a little kid. It's the team I watched growing up."
Cheering from afar in Grants Pass, Ore., Drury counted Derek Jeter as his favorite player, though he figures to be tackling third base -- a position once handled in The Bronx by fellow Beaver State product Scott Brosius.
"I'm much more happy to be at third," Drury said. "It's natural for me. Second base was tough to pick up. It was all right, but I'm really excited about third. ... I'm excited. I want to win a World Series. That's the goal here. We've got the guys to do it."
Drury said that he made offseason adjustments with his swing and training, hoping to convert some of his 68 doubles over the last two seasons into homers. Drury hit .267/.317/.447 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in 135 games for Arizona in 2017.
"I don't feel like I've done anything like what I'm capable of the last couple of years," Drury said. "They've both been a grind. The numbers are OK, but I don't think the last two seasons is half of the player I am. I truly don't believe that. Now I've got to go out and prove it."
Ready to go
Spring Training game action has arrived earlier than usual, and Carsten Sabathia is not complaining.
"This is weird that it's starting [Friday]," Sabathia said. "But it gives us more off-days in the season, so whatever works."
Sabathia faced hitters for the first time in 2018 on Thursday, pitching in simulated action to a group that included Drury, Didi Gregorius, Billy McKinney and Ronald Torreyes. Sabathia was encouraged by how his changeup behaved, though he was less pleased with a few of his sliders, barking audibly on a back field.
"For me, it's just staying healthy, being out there," Sabathia said. "I think the more reps I get, everything is starting to come back. It's just being out on the mound, getting that feeling of how the ball goes into the glove, getting signs from the catcher, just different things that you need to get used to. Get my routine down. Things like that."
He said it: "When you're playing defense, that ball comes at you quick. It's not fun playing defense [against] Stanton, and I know Judge is the same way. Those two guys going back-to-back in the order, that's a joke." -- Drury
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.