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Center getting lots of attention at Yanks camp

MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- There is no shortage of Yankees outfielders lining up for reps in center, with Clint Frazier asking manager Aaron Boone for a chance to give the position a whirl this spring. Even Aaron Judge tossed his name into the ring, hopeful to revisit his collegiate days as Fresno State's standout center fielder.

With Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury vying for playing time in center, plus a capable fill-in option in Brett Gardner, Boone is in no hurry to place Frazier or Judge in the middle of the outfield. But their willingness to relieve the logjam is appreciated.

TAMPA, Fla. -- There is no shortage of Yankees outfielders lining up for reps in center, with Clint Frazier asking manager Aaron Boone for a chance to give the position a whirl this spring. Even Aaron Judge tossed his name into the ring, hopeful to revisit his collegiate days as Fresno State's standout center fielder.

With Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury vying for playing time in center, plus a capable fill-in option in Brett Gardner, Boone is in no hurry to place Frazier or Judge in the middle of the outfield. But their willingness to relieve the logjam is appreciated.

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"I think a lot of guys signed up to play center," Boone said, with a chuckle. "Clint did come up to me and tell me that, and I will say this -- I'm excited about the work he's putting in. He's been here working hard already. We feel like he's making improvements in the outfield. We feel like, athletically, there's a lot more in there defensively."

Frazier played mostly in center field during his first three pro seasons with the Indians from 2013-15, but was moved to the outfield corners to accommodate fellow rising prospect Bradley Zimmer.

"I played more center in my career than I have the corners [in the Minors] and in high school," Frazier said. "I know I can go out there and catch the ball. It's just a matter of getting the opportunity. I've got some kinks to be worked out, but I want to play."

Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are expected to see time in left and right field this spring. Judge took fly balls in center on Saturday with outfield coach Reggie Willits, who recently said that he believes Judge can play wherever needed.

"To me, the way his mentality is, it's not a matter of if he will get something," Willits said. "It's just a matter of how long it takes him, because he's got that kind of work ethic."

All 168 of Judge's big league games have come in right field, but he played three games in center field and seven games in left field as recently as 2016 with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"Judge told me he could play center, too," Boone said. "You never say never. You never know how things shake out. But no, there's no plan for that right now."

For openers
Boone is in no rush to announce an Opening Day starter, and though Luis Severino appears to be a strong candidate to take the ball on March 29 against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, the rookie skipper doesn't necessarily see him as a lock.

"We have guys like [Masahiro] Tanaka and CC [Sabathia] that have been aces of a staff," Boone said. "We have Sevy, who became what he became what he became a year ago. I think for us, at least to me anyway, the order in which they pitch isn't necessarily as big a deal. A lot that will go into that is where we view these guys physically and how we want to build in rest and off-days as we look at the first month or two of the season."

Boone said the Yankees plan to monitor Severino after he pitched a career-high 193 1/3 regular-season innings and 16 more in the postseason last year, but said "there's nothing we've talked about innings limits or anything like that." Severino is eyeing a 200-inning campaign.

"He's a guy that's physical, and I think wants to be known not only as a great pitcher, but a horse in the rotation," Boone said. "We'll be cautious with him to a degree, but we're also leaning on him heavily to be the guy we started to see last year."

He said it
"I want to explain how I feel or what I want to say. I think it's important for the fans and the media. Sometimes I feel embarrassed because my English is not perfect, but I practice to have perfect English to explain how I feel and what I want to say." -- Gleyber Torres, who conducted a nine-minute interview in English on Saturday

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.

New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge