Yankees manager Aaron Boone spoke at spring training in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday to discuss Chad Green's role this season along with how Gary Sanchez looks and the depth of the team's catchers behind him.
On Chad Green's role in 2020
"I don't know if I envision [his role] as being different. With Greeny, he brings a lot to the table being a multi-inning reliever. We've used him in the opener scenarios. We've even toyed with him as a starter. But he can be one of our high-leverage set-up guys, as well. I feel like his versatility to gives us an edge to our blend down there. He's kind of our Swiss Army knife. He can fill a lot of roles down there and that's really how I see him."
Does that mean Green won't be used as an opener as much as he was last season?
"I would hope so, just based on who's available. That means we've stayed largely healthy in our rotation. But we also feel like there are given days where that could really work to our advantage."
On a recovering Chad Bettis, who the Yankees have brought in on a minor league deal
"He's going through the physical stuff. I haven't gotten any of the reports. I know he's going through the gauntlet today but my understanding is that he should be good to go."
On the team implementing a new stance for catchers, specifically Gary Sanchez
"I've been really pleased with what I've already seen with mechanics that I think, technically, makes things easier on our guys. I feel like Gary's taken to it really well. Just watching him in the bullpen receiving, he's really starting to get comfortable in the position, which is one of the things you're ultimately looking for. When you're in a comfortable spot, now you're in a position to execute back there. That's what I'm seeing in the early days."
The hope is that it just improves him across the board as a catcher. That's the goal. Hopefully it helps him be more consistent with different pitches within the strike zone, but it's not limited to receiving. Hopefully this is something that takes less of a toll on his body, helps him for blocking, doesn't hinder his throwing at all. We're looking for the whole package here."
On the rest of the team's catchers, including Kyle Higashioka
It's a deep catching corps we've brought in this year. But we feel great about Higgy. We feel like he's been ready for this opportunity for a while. We're really excited about who he is. He's out of options so that factors into things, but we feel like he's very much ready for the opportunity.
That being said, you bring in an established guy like Chris Iannetta, what [Erik] Kratz brings to the table, [Josh] Thole who's got big league experience. These are guys that we've brought in that really provide quality depth, better depth than since I've been here. So we're excited with who we've brought in, but to start with we're very excited with Higgy and what he can be.
He's an elite receiver. He's special in terms of hands behind the plate and getting strikes back there. That's something he's always had. We like the power, especially against left-handed pitching. He's had some big seasons in the minor leagues and is coming off a great season at Triple-A. Year-by-year since I've been here he's improved. He understands that this is his time. He's really found his voice in our room and understands the importance of having that presence.