Yankees reliever Zack Britton is confident MLB and the players have their priorities in the right place when it comes to health and safety as baseball attempts to take initial steps towards a 60-game regular season with a shortened spring training in big league parks.
“I am anxious to see how it all works out. I think we are taking the appropriate steps regarding health protocols,’’ Britton wrote in an email to The Post on Wednesday. “Obviously, with only 60 games, the season will feel a lot different, but I am excited we are playing again.’’
Testing, wearing masks, no spitting and social distancing are big parts of those protocols.
The plan is for the season to begin in late July. The hope is that a World Series winner will be crowned in October. Of course, that plan was hatched to deal with the coronavirus that has infected several players and staffers from organizations before Spring Training 2 opens.
Last weekend The Post reported four members of the Yankees’ organization tested positive in Tampa and with teams testing before workouts begin it is possible more positive results will surface.
Against that serious backdrop teams are preparing for a season that vanished on March 12 when the coronavirus forced spring training to be halted. Trucks currently are moving equipment from spring training facilities to big league parks. A few Yankees staff members were at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
Players will report July 1, rosters which have been frozen since March can be altered starting Friday at noon. By Sunday at 4 p.m. clubs have to turn in their 60-man rosters, 20 of which will make up a taxi squad.
So, what does it mean for the Yankees who have worked off Zoom calls for three months and will finally get a live look at the players in a structured environment that will likely feature a lot of simulated games?
With their 40-man roster full (the suspended Domingo German is on the restricted list), the Yankees would have to drop a player to make room for a free-agent signing or trade acquisition.
Looking at the Yankees’ roster there isn’t a clear area that needs addressing if healthy. Of course the Yankees would have had Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, James Paxton and Luis Severino on the injured list if the season started on March 26 as scheduled.
According to BetOnline the Yankees and Dodgers lead the majors with projected win totals of 38 ½ in a season that will put a heavy emphasis on a quick start. The schedules are expected to be released in a few days.
The rotation headed by Gerrit Cole is solid as is the bullpen which is anchored by closer Aroldis Chapman. An outfield of Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman and Giancarlo Stanton offers power and speed. Gleyber Torres takes over for Didi Gregorius at short and DJ LeMahieu will play second. Luke Voit at first and Gio Urshela at third are the corners. Gary Sanchez’s bat is something the Yankees remain high on. Miguel Andujar might possess the best bat off the bench in baseball.
As for a 60-game slate in which the Yankees will play 40 against the AL East and 20 versus the NL East, Hicks understands there is no settling in.
“As a starter you have to know that you are going to have to play every single game because there is no time,’’ Hicks told The Post last week. “Anything can happen in a 60-game season. … You have to come out fast and you have to come out strong. You have to create separation between you and the other teams.’’