Ricardo On WFAN: Giancarlo Stanton Knows He Has A Lot To Prove To Yankees Fans

Announcer Shares Thoughts On Miguel Andujar, Yankees' Rotation

Joe & Evan
February 21, 2020 - 5:05 pm

Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will face an increased amount of pressure this season. 

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A year removed from his first season in New York, where he tallied 38 home runs and 100 RBIs, Stanton experienced a disappointing campaign. He struggled at the plate and battled various injuries, only appearing in 18 regular season games. He returned in the postseason but was sidelined often with a quad strain, recording three hits in five games. 

Stanton appeared in good health as he entered spring training, telling reporters he's "limitation-free." Yankees' Spanish play-by-play announcer Rickie Ricardo believes Stanton will return to his All-Star caliber form in 2020. 

"He is 100% healthy right now as we speak," Ricardo told Joe Benigno and John Jastremski on Friday. "And he told me this just yesterday, he feels better than he has in the last couple of calendar years. He's as healthy as he's been since he put on a Yankee uniform. How do you keep him this healthy and get the most out of him? ... That's up to Aaron Boone. But he's got a clean slate.

"He is as healthy as he's ever been as a Yankee. He knows he's got a lot to prove to this fan base. He's heard the whispers. He's not blind to the fact that he's under produced and there are people that are disappointed as his production ... he knows he needs a bounce back season."

Ricardo dubbed infielder Miguel Andujar the Yankees' "most intriguing storyline of the spring." Gio Urshela is projected to start at third base this season, leaving Andujar to test out various positions. Jastremski asked, "Do you buy the idea that Miguel Andujar can take on this 'jack of all trades' type of position with the Yankees?" 

"He took the time off when being hurt and recovering and he's come in tremendous shape," Ricardo said. "Physically, he's great and mentally, he is ready to go — to be that Swiss Army knife, jack of all trades type of guy. For example, today he worked with Tino Martinez about footwork and how to play first base. Willie Randolph will help him when it comes to playing the hot corner with the infield stuff. I'm assuming veteran coaches will work with him in the outfield as spring training moves along ... They're going to move him around. 

The Yankees' Miguel Andujar celebrates his RBI single during the 13th inning against the White Sox on Aug. 7, 2018, at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

The Yankees won't have pitchers James Paxton (injury) or Domingo German (suspension) to begin the season. Luis Severino already left Yankees camp to return to New York for more testing on his forearm injury. The Yankees are forced to address their rotation and which pitcher will fill the final spot. 

Ricardo suggested pitchers Jonathan Loáisiga and Luis Cessa are contenders for the fifth spot, but is hopeful pitching prospect Deivi Garcia receives an opportunity. 

"I'd love to see the youngster Deivi Garcia, who a lot of people view as a future Luis Severino type of pitcher," Ricardo said. "I'd love to see Garcia shine through this camp and maybe get a chance at the fifth starter position. But we'll find out. There is a lot of young guys that would love a shot at this but Montgomery moves up to four and we'll see how the battle for that five spot turns out. ... Right now if I had to give you a leader in the clubhouse for that, it would be Loáisiga."

Click the audio player above to listen to Ricardo's interview with Joe Benigno and John Jastremski in its entirety