Anthony Volpe wins Yankees' opening day shortstop job

·6 min read

Anthony Volpe is getting an opportunity to live a lifelong dream.

The 21-year-old who grew up idolizing Hall of Famer Derek Jeter will be the New York Yankees' opening day shortstop after winning the job in spring training.

Manager Aaron Boone, general manager Brian Cashman, hitting coach Dillon Lawson and bench coach Carlos Mendoza delivered the news after Sunday’s 6-2 Grapefruit League win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

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The Yankees open the regular season at home Thursday against the San Francisco Giants.

Volpe, who lived in Manhattan as a child before moving to nearby New Jersey, shared the news with his parents and other family members at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.

“It was pretty emotional,” Volpe said. “It was just an unbelievable moment to share with them.”

Rated one of baseball's best prospects, Volpe is hitting .314 with three homers, five RBIs and a .417 on-base percentage in 17 spring training games. He won the starting shortstop job over Oswald Peraza and holdover Isiah Kiner-Falefa despite having only 22 games of experience at Triple-A.

Peraza was optioned to the minors Sunday. Kiner-Falefa was shifted into a utility role midway through camp.

“While certainly the performance was there, he killed it between the lines,” Boone said of Volpe. “All the other things that we’ve been hearing about showed up. There’s an energy he plays the game with, and an instinct that he has that is evident. He really checked every box that we could have had for him."


Atlanta right-hander Kyle Wright, the only 20-game winner in the majors in 2022, will start this season on the injured list. That creates the likelihood that rookie left-handers Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd will both be part of Atlanta’s rotation early.

Wright, who was 21-5 with a 3.19 ERA last season, has been limited to two starts this spring and the right-hander needs additional time to strengthen his sore pitching shoulder. He’s expected to return in mid-April.

Shuster is Atlanta’s top prospect. He and Dodd have been competing for what the Braves had anticipated would be one opening in the rotation.

The 24-year-old Shuster was the club’s first-round draft pick in 2020. He is expected to start the Braves’ third game at Washington on April 2.

Dodd will be added to the roster and is expected to take the No. 5 spot in the rotation and start on April 4 at St. Louis.


Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera was presented a key to the city of Lakeland, Florida, before his final spring training game, which the Tigers won 11-10 over the Tampa Bay Rays. The two-time AL MVP and four-time batting champion has said he intends to retire after the 2023 season, his 16th with the Tigers and 21st overall. The 39-year-old slugger received a standing ovation before and after his final at-bat at Joker Marchant Stadium, flying out to left field to finish 0 for 3 with a strikeout.


Left-hander Josh Fleming won a competition to open the season in Tampa Bay’s rotation, beating out right-handers Yonny Chirinos and Luis Patino to fill in for injured right-hander Tyler Glasnow (oblique). Chirinos was optioned to Triple-A Durham on Sunday. Patino was sent to the minors earlier in the weekend.

“It was a really tough decision,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Fleming, I think, is very deserving of it.”

Meanwhile, Glasnow threw from 75 feet on flat ground, and right-handed reliever Kyle Click was released.

Rays shortstop Wander Franco, scratched from the lineup Saturday due to right quadriceps soreness, was awaiting the results of an MRI.


The Oakland A’s agreed to terms with right-hander Jeurys Familia on a $1.5 million, one-year contract. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A’s placed left-hander Kirby Snead on the 60-day injured list with a strained left shoulder.

Familia was a non-roster invite to Arizona Diamondbacks camp this spring and went 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA and .167 opponents' batting average in eight relief appearances before being released by the Diamondbacks on Friday. He pitched for Philadelphia and Boston last year, going a combined 2-3 with a 6.09 ERA in 48 outings.

The 33-year-old righty is 34-28 with 125 saves and a 3.51 ERA in 574 games over 11 seasons with the Mets, A’s, Red Sox and Phillies.


Yankees prospect Jhony Brito pitched 5 1/3 perfect innings against the Blue Jays, striking out three in a performance Boone said could land the 25-year-old the starting assignment in the third game of the regular season against the Giants.

“That was great, right?” Boone said. “Jhony was another level of sharp today. In control.”

Brito, who pitched in Double-A and Triple-A last season, entered camp not thinking he had a chance to make the opening day roster.

“No, not at all. I mean, when you think about when we started camp, the rotation the Yankees had was a pretty good one, right? ... Unfortunately, injuries do happen. You feel really bad about that,” Brito said through a translator. “On the other hand, you understand that you have a job to do and you want to be able to pitch when the team is calling you.”

Boone also said Sunday that relievers Jimmy Cordero and Albert Abreu have made the opening day roster.

Meanwhile, the Yankees will take a cautious approach with Luis Severino as the right-hander tries to comeback from a right lat strain. A similar injury sidelined the two-time All-Star last season.

“You know how the Yankees are, they always (take) precaution. Even if I want to rush it, they’re not going to let me do it,” Severino said. “Hopefully, this is it. If I miss even three or four starts, after that if I can be good for the rest of the season I’ll be blessed.”


Kyle Freeland made his first start for the Colorado Rockies since returning from the World Baseball Classic, where he pitched three innings for Team USA in the championship-game loss to Japan.

The left-hander allowed one run in the finale last Tuesday and struck out tournament MVP Shohei Ohtani. Freeland's 41 pitches were the most of any hurler who appeared in the title game.

Freeland went 3 1/3 innings Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds. He gave up four runs and eight hits but was hurt by his defense.

“Working through some traffic trying to get the ball on the ground was nice. No one is ever going to have clean innings every time. It built my pitch count up, which I needed to do because I’m a little behind,” Freeland said. “My aim was 70-75. I was right around that.”

Freeland was 9-11 with a 4.53 ERA in 31 starts for Colorado last season. He was curious how the first outing back with the new pitch clock would go.

“It was an easy transition,” Freeland said.

He is scheduled to start the second game of the season in San Diego.


AP Sports Writer Charles Odum in Atlanta and AP freelancers Mark Didtler in Tampa, Florida, and Gary Schatz in Scottsdale, Arizona, contributed to this report.


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Fred Goodall, The Associated Press