TAMPA — With Yankees position players reporting to camp Monday, they can expect to be grilled about the Astros’ sign-stealing saga which may have cost the Yankees a trip to the 2017 World Series and people inside the organization believe played a role in Jose Altuve’s ALCS ending homer in Game 6 last year off Aroldis Chapman.
Outfielders Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks, with catcher Gary Sanchez, are the only position players remaining from the 2017 team that lost Game 7 of the ALCS to the Astros. Sanchez addressed the issue this past week when pitchers and catchers reported.
Hicks, who isn’t expected back at least until June due to Tommy John surgery, surfaced in the Yankees’ clubhouse Sunday and Judge visited the facility during the weekend. They and Gardner are expected to be smothered with questions about the Astros’ cheating in 2017 and whether the trio believes the Astros were stealing signs illegally in last year’s ALCS.
Gerrit Cole wasn’t the only Yankees pitcher to throw live BP on the main field at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Sunday.
Jordan Montgomery, the early favorite to claim the No. 5 starter’s spot, worked two innings as did Jonathan Loaisiga, who could land in the rotation or bullpen. Former No. 1 draft pick Clarke Schmidt, taken with the 16th pick in 2017, also threw.
“Another guy who I thought really executed well [Sunday],” Aaron Boone said of Montgomery, who appeared in two September games a year ago and worked four innings after coming back from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. “I thought [Sunday] was another good building block for him.”
The Yankees announced the signing of right-hander Chad Bettis to a minor league contract. According to Boone, the 30-year-old will compete for a rotation spot or a bullpen position. The Post’s Joel Sherman reported Saturday that Bettis will earn $1.5 million if he makes the major league roster. The deal includes $2 million in performance bonuses.
“We will see. He is obviously coming in here with a little bit of a track record,” Boone said of Bettis, who will be 31 in April and is 31-31 with a 5.12 ERA in 164 games (92 starts). “We will see where he is and certainly be in that kind of mix.”
Bettis pitched for the Rockies from 2013-19. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2016. A blister problem on the pitching hand and a left hip injury interrupted his 2017 and 2018 seasons. Working as a full-time reliever last season Bettis posted a chubby 6.08 ERA.
The Yankees held a 5K Sprint to Spring race at Steinbrenner Field on Sunday morning. Among the 800 participants were general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, GM Brian Cashman and assistant GM Jean Afterman.