TAMPA — Yankees position players don’t report until Feb. 16, but Aaron Judge was at the team’s minor league complex Tuesday, shagging fly balls and taking batting practice alongside other regulars such as Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit and Miguel Andujar.
“See you in a couple weeks,’’ Judge said, referring to the team’s first full workout.
Before then, though, the Yankees will get a look at many important pieces of their lineup that missed significant time a year ago — including each of the players working out Tuesday.
There was one especially interested observer on hand who wants to see what kind of numbers the Yankees can put up without as many trips to the injured list.
“I want to keep everyone on the field at one time,’’ hitting coach Marcus Thames said. “If we have our lineup together, we can do a lot of good things.’’
The Yankees still managed to lead the majors with 943 runs and hit more than 300 homers for the first time in franchise history on their way to the American League Championship Series.
“They’re all talented,’’ Thames said. “We won 103 games last year and Aaron was out for two months, Gary was out two months and [Giancarlo] Stanton missed as many games as he did. If our guys are feeling good, we’ve got a really dangerous lineup.”
The litany of injuries impacted the lineup as well as the pitching staff. Offensively, only Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu avoided trips to the IL. Judge (strained oblique), Sanchez (groin and calf), Stanton (knee and bicep strains), Voit (an abdominal injury that required surgery) and Andujar (torn labrum) each missed significant time.
Aaron Hicks was also out with a back injury before being sidetracked again with an elbow injury. He likely will be out until midseason following offseason Tommy John surgery.
“It was tough, but we trusted the guys that came up,’’ Thames said of all the injuries and players such as Gio Urshela and Mike Tauchman who filled in well in their absence. “Those guys came up to New York and didn’t skip a beat.”
Still, it’s not the same as having some of the most formidable hitters in the sport available on a daily basis.
“I would love to have Stanton for a full season and Judge for a full season,’’ Thames said. “They’re elite players. When you have that many elite players, you want to get as much out of them as you can.”
Some of that responsibility will now fall on Eric Cressey, the team’s newly named director of player health and performance.
It will be a while until we know whether the training programs instituted by the new staff leads to fewer injuries, but Thames is enthusiastic about what the offense might be able to do if it stays in one piece.
“Gleyber has been here since December and has looked good,’’ Thames said. “It’s Judge’s second day and he’s good to go. He’s just getting the cobwebs out. We’ll try to make sure he’s healthy and ready to go. Same thing with Gary and Stanton. I’ve talked to them all during the offseason and they feel good.”
Now, it’s just a matter of keeping it that way.
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