Any lingering questions about Gio Urshela’s right elbow seemed to be answered on the Yankees third baseman’s first play of the spring, as he snared a grounder and whipped a strike across the infield to nab Phillies leadoff hitter Adam Haseley.
“It felt really good,” said Urshela, who went 0-for-2 in New York’s 15-0 Grapefruit League loss at BayCare Ballpark. “I felt 100 percent, trying to get my elbow ready. Now I’m just trying to get that timing back.”
Urshela had surgery after the playoffs to remove a bone spur, an injury that necessitated a brief stint on the injured list in September. The Yankees expect the 29-year-old to be ready for Opening Day, coming off a year in which he slashed .298/.368/.490 (136 OPS+) with six homers and 30 RBIs in 43 regular-season games.
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“He looks great,” said Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza. “Coming back from that surgery, the biggest thing is throwing from multiple angles. We all know how Gio makes that charging play when he’s got to come in and get rid of the ball at a lower angle slot. He’s been fine making throws from the third-base line. He’s in a good spot and ready to go.”
Mendoza said that he played catch with Urshela about two weeks before the official report date for Yankees pitchers and catchers, noticing that Urshela’s arm speed and arm action appeared to be in midseason form. Urshela is scheduled to rest on Friday, then return to the lineup on Saturday against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.
“In the first inning, I saw everything go fast, so I tried to slow my timing down a little bit,” Urshela said. “After my first at-bat, I felt much better.”