Yankees’ Oswaldo Cabrera embracing his utility man role


TAMPA — The main shelf in most lockers inside the Yankees clubhouse at Steinbrenner Field is filled with one or two versions of the same glove, as well as hats, sunglasses and other personal items.

Osvaldo Cabrera is loaded with an assortment of gloves that he needs depending on which of his seven positions he plays on a given day — and that’s not even including the first baseman’s mitt. which he has lent to Anders’ potential. Chapro

On Saturday, Cabrera started in right field for the first time this spring. In his last four games, he played left field once and third base three times.

He is also expected to see time at shortstop, second base, first base and even center field for the first time in his professional career, if he wasn’t busy enough.

“I love it,” said Cabrera, who homered in the Yankees’ 14-10 loss to the Rays at Steinbrenner Field. “I don’t have a problem when they move me around. I just enjoy it. I want to keep playing and that’s my mentality: I’m going to play whatever position the manager wants me to play today to help the team win.

Oswald Cabrera
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The budding utility man emerged as a valuable player last season after being called up in August.

He had only played four career games in the outfield before making his big league debut, but then started 32 of his 44 games with the Yankees in one of the corner outfield spots, filling a need and a blow when he was was in

Cabrera’s impressive late-season ensured his spot on the Opening Day roster this year. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to use him.

The Yankees are having competition for their starting shortstop and left field jobs, but Cabrera may be most valuable as a versatile player who can move around the field.

“I think we should make those shirts: Where’s Osvaldo?” Manager Aaron Boone quipped.

The 24-year-old is ready for anything.

“That tells you everything you need to know about the type of kid he is — he’ll do whatever it takes to help the team,” bench coach Carlos Mendoza said. “It says a lot about the makeup.”

Oswald Cabrera
Oswald Cabrera
Getty Images

Mendoza and Boone have had their hands full this spring training making sure Cabrera gets enough work at every position to fully prepare for the regular season.

Communication has been key, with the staff trying to give Cabrera at least three or four days’ advance notice of where he will play in upcoming games so he can spend time working on those positions beforehand.

“If you put in your mind that it’s hard, it’s obviously going to be hard,” he said. “But I try to be as easy-going as I can be, not to have too many things on my mind. Just go out there, have fun and do the things I’ve been working on for a while.

To help in that pursuit, Cabrera has four different Wilson gloves — plus a few new ones he’s still breaking in.

Besides the first baseman’s mitt, the largest is for the outfield while the other two are for the infield – one for third base and one for shortstop and second base, as well as sometimes third base because that’s the glove he’s most comfortable with. is

It is the smallest glove in his collection, along with a brown one he called “my favorite glove in my life”.

Regardless of which glove he wears on his left hand some day, Cabrera has made his impact felt, smoothly handling the transition to the ultra-utility guy.

“[It’s because of] His ability to slow the game down,” Mendoza said. “His ability to anticipate, position himself, read swings. It helps him when he has to go from left to right, from the infield to the outfield. He has such a good feel for the game. He has really good instincts that sometimes he makes it look really, really easy. But it’s not as easy as he makes it out to be. “

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