Notes: High-tech gizmos; hot corner update

February 18th, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. -- When Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon brought their high-octane arsenals into the blue barn at the center of the Yankees' player development complex on Thursday, the hurlers entered a Willy Wonka wonderland of pitching imagination, outfitted with a catalogue of the latest high-tech gizmos.

Quite appropriately, the structure is dubbed the Yankees' "gas station." The organization used the last calendar year to invest in the future of pitching development, and Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman and Chad Green were also among those who got to use the new tech during Thursday's workout.

"It was really fun seeing our pitchers throwing their bullpen [sessions], especially some of our new guys, getting eyes on them in person for the first time," said manager Aaron Boone. "It's one of the real benefits of being over here [at the player development complex], especially for the pitchers. We're able to gather a lot of data for every bullpen. It's been in the works here for the last couple of years."

Others tossing from the "gas station" mounds included Deivi García, Luis García, Yoendrys Gomez, Nick Goody, Michael King, Darren O'Day, Clarke Schmidt, Adam Warren and Asher Wojciechowski, according to Boone. Each pitcher's activities were captured by Rapsodo and Edgertronic devices, which download into the club's computer system.

"It's an updated version of what we've had," Britton said. "You've got high-speed cameras all over the place and a bunch of new monitors -- just a nice clean setup where everything's already fixed in place. It's good if you're looking for some feedback on certain things; delivery or pitch movement. I think it's great, especially when the younger guys are at this facility to see themselves and get instant feedback."

While most of the pitchers in Thursday's group were lighting up the radar guns, O'Day relies on the deception created by his submarine motion to baffle big leaguers. The 38-year-old right-hander joked that he might have been out of place setting up shop alongside that group of flamethrowers.

"They had to make an exception to let me in that place," O'Day said. "I think I have to go throw at the bus stop or something."

Hot corner
Gio Urshela fielded grounders and made several tosses across the infield from his third-base position during Thursday's on-field activities. Urshela is recovering from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.

"He's doing well," Boone said. "He's been doing that for about a week now. He backed up a little bit, so the throws got a little bit longer. We feel like he's close. Whether we start him in the early games here in spring remains to be seen, but I feel like he's in a good place."

Welcome to camp
Boone addressed the team in two separate groups on Thursday morning, a nod toward social-distancing efforts. He said that numerous health and safety protocols were discussed in the meetings, so Boone aimed to keep his remarks between five and seven minutes.

"One of the things I feel like we have going for us is a hunger with this group," Boone said. "We haven't gone through this [162-game season] in this scenario of a pandemic, so there will be challenges along the way. As the spring unfolds and the season unfolds, we'll continue to learn how to live and exist and thrive in this environment. We'll evolve with it. That's the challenge of making sure we have the right kind of focus to survive the long haul."

Snap chat
Boone said that he had a brief conversation with Domingo Germán on Thursday, one day after the right-hander posted a cryptic message to his Instagram story, then wiped his feed clean. It was the second such social-media curiosity in the last calendar year for Germán, who is returning from a suspension for violating baseball's policy against domestic violence.

"I don't feel like I'm in a position to tell somebody how they're going to express themselves," Boone said. "Certainly, we're paying attention to that stuff. First and foremost, I want to make sure Domingo is in a good place. It was brought to my attention and I was taken aback a little bit, and immediately concerned, but I do feel like it's maybe a little bit out of context and a little overblown."

Boone said that there are no plans to have Germán address the team this spring.

"I don't think he owes anything to me," Britton said. "I think it's off-the-field stuff that he needs to take care of. Sometimes you don't get to control who your teammates are. That's the situation. I don't agree with what he did; I don't think it has any place in the game or off the field at all."

Comeback trail
Luis Severino has extended his throwing to 120 feet, according to Boone, who recently played catch with the rehabbing right-hander at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Boone said that Severino is a couple of weeks away from throwing from a mound, a significant step as he returns from Tommy John surgery performed in late February 2020. Severino has been projected to return to the Majors between June and August.

Up next
The Yankees' pitchers and catchers will work out again on Friday morning at the club's Player Development complex. Workouts are closed to the public.