SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports & # 39; Bob Nightengale, Steve Gardner and Jorge Ortiz give their predictions for the new season.

TORONTO – While The Most of his teammates relaxed at the Yankees clubhouse in New York on Thursday and enjoyed watching the Chicago Cubs-Miami Marlins play on television, while racket Giancarlo Stanton was absent.

The Yankees sat around marveling at Cubs batsman Ian Happ. When he asked Aaron Judge if he had seen it

he admitted that he was watching, someone asked him if he thought he could do the same on the first pitch of


He laughed, shrugged, and said, " I can not see that, come on, you know how hard that is. "

Stanton was not around to ask him, and his absence during the media availability only added to the question he had with him New York's pressure could bypass York and all the trials and expectations that led the Yankees to the World Series.

Just in case someone would get the pressure of New York on the big guy, Stanton Toronto sent JA Happ's 92-mph into the seats in the right field in his first swing as Yankee Blue Jays starter. It was a 426-foot counterpart-homer, leaving his bat at 117 mph. Eight innings later, it was a 434-foot, high-speed drive to the second level at Rogers Center, a fitting coda to the Yankees & # 39;

The Bronx bombers are back

And the man who led baseball with 59 Homer's last season and led the Marlins in each of the last seven years in Homer's proved that he never went

"You have one have a positive attitude, "he said on the eve of his American League debut.

On Thursday afternoon, Stanton systematically drove the ball into the right field during the batting session. Over and over. Some were line drives. Some went to the seats. Others were simply ground bullets.

But all were beaten to the right field, smiling and finally laughter, beating coach Marcus Thames.

Stanton, now full of confidence, quietly went to the batter box with one out and Brett Gardner based in the top of the first. He watched as Happ crossed the plate at 92 mph and almost dared to throw it again.

Happ did.

And paid the price.

Stanton dropped his bat, circled the bases and hopped to the 1965-8008] Welcome to the Yankees

Stanton's presence, which stood behind Aaron Judge when opposing leftists were on the hill, also seemed to be the reigning rookie-of calm down the year winner. Judge, who made 52 home runs last year and ran 114 runs while finishing second in the MVP race to second-placed Jose Altuve from Houston Astros, twice hit the base himself in his first three clubs with a double and a walk. [19659008] "I would say, do not try to be better than last year," Stanton said when asked what advice he would give to the judge. "Do not try to compare numbers or compare where you were last year, trust yourself and trust your preparation, I know you'll do well."

"You've been prepared to do well and Do not worry about expectations or a second break-in or whatever you want to call it.

"It only exists when you say it in your mind."

It seemed to work everywhere where you looked at the Yankees.

Luis Severino, 24, the Yankees' youngest start since Lefty Gomez in 1932, was sensational, throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing only one blow and knocking out seven doughs. Second bass Neil Walker doubled on the debut of his Yankees. And there was rookie manager Aaron Boone, who looked as relaxed as if he were training his son's Little League game and pressing the right buttons.

"Aaron Boone deserves the right to be in this shelter," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman , "He's an exceptional baseball player, and I think a quality leader, I have not a second to guess, or concerns

" He's all he could be. "

Of course, it was just a game and will not change count as a Wednesday afternoon game in the dog days of the summer, but if nothing else, the Yankees showed on Thursday that they will not be buried by expectations.

Even though they have their youngest team since 1993, along with their lowest salary in 25 years.

The little machine that could?

"I've changed it," said Cashman, "to the big engine that could."


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