Pinstriped Stroman hits ‘pinnacle’ at Yankees mound, Soto finds inspiration in Cano

Marcus Stroman and Juan Soto are at the Yankees spring training camp on February 19, 2024.
Inna Zeyger
Tuesday February 20, 2024

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With Opening Day still six weeks away, Yankees fans received their first glimpse of the newest addition to the pitching staff in action! On Monday, Marcus Stroman donned the pinstripes for the first time, stepping onto the mound at Steinbrenner Field for three innings of live batting practice. This session marked his official initiation into spring training preparations for the upcoming regular season.

Marcus Stroman expressed his excitement about donning the pinstripes and experiencing the atmosphere. He remarked on the thrill of having a small crowd present during the Yankees’ practice session. Overall, he stated that he felt good and emphasized the importance of refining his mechanics and physical condition at this stage.

“I don’t know if I envisioned it [growing up], but playing for the New York Yankees as an organization is like the pinnacle of the sport,” the pitcher told. “I feel like every player when you embark on this journey to play at the highest level, I feel like everyone wants to be a Yankee at some point. 

Yankees rotation reality a dream for revitalized Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman’s Yankees debut, albeit in live batting practice, offered a glimpse of his potential. On Monday, Stroman shared the mound with Carlos Rodon, each throwing around 44 pitches. He showcased his strikeout repertoire, fanning several batters, before encountering a setback when Austin Wells launched a home run off him.

Manager Aaron Boone expressed satisfaction with both pitchers’ sharpness for this early stage of spring training, suggesting promising signs for the upcoming season.

Marcus Stroman’s next step is already scheduled for Sunday, where he’ll take the mound in one of the Yankees’ split-squad Grapefruit League games. This marks another milestone for the Long Island native, following his two-year, $37 million contract signing with the Yankees last month.

Yankees pitcher Marcus Stroman at Tampa training facility and with his tattoos.

Marcus Stroman conveyed that he was uncertain if he had envisioned it while growing up, but he expressed that playing for the New York Yankees was regarded as the pinnacle of the sport. He mentioned that he believed every player, when aspiring to reach the highest level, dreams of being a Yankee at some point.

“Exciting putting the pinstripes on and getting those feels,” he said. “Having a little bit of a crowd out there is pretty awesome. But, yeah, felt good. Just a matter of getting mechanics dialed in and feeling good at this point.” 

Marcus Stroman further commented that being part of the New York Yankees is akin to a worldwide phenomenon that one grows up watching, even if they are not from New York. He expressed gratitude and thankfulness for being part of the organization, emphasizing that wearing the pinstripes is an honor he does not take lightly. Marcus Stroman conveyed excitement about getting to work with the team.

Soto reminds Yankees of the fallen hero

The news of Juan Soto joining the Yankees sent shivers down the spines of fans across the MLB landscape, and fueling the excitement was the revelation that his baseball idol was none other than former Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Soto looked up to Cano’s smooth swing and infectious energy, making this new chapter even more intriguing.

However, while there might be unspoken admiration and potential mentorship opportunities, it’s important to clarify that no extensive discussions regarding Cano’s influence on Soto’s decision to join the Yankees have been reported. Their interactions during the 2023 WBC likely played a role in fostering a friendly connection, but concrete details about any specific conversations surrounding the move to pinstripes remain unknown.

Juan Soto, player of the New York Yankees

Soto mentioned that Cano congratulated him and expressed positive sentiments about the Yankees’ environment. However, they did not have the opportunity to delve into discussions about the organization and Soto’s experience playing there.

The Yankees kicked off spring training with good news: Manager Aaron Boone confirmed that all position players reported to camp on Monday and are in good health! This positive update sets the stage for an exciting training period as the team gears up for the upcoming season.

While some players opted for fresh starts with clean shaves, like Carlos Rodon ditching his signature mustache, others are experimenting with new looks. Gleyber Torres has been sporting a mustache, but with a playful wink, hinted that it might not last until Opening Day. Even Yankees manager Boone chimed in, jokingly expressing his indecision about Torres’ facial hair with a grin, saying, “I’m not completely sold on the mustache.”

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