Ryan has mild back strain from lifting weights

Infielder Brendan Ryan will miss five days of on-field activity due to a mild back strain.

Ryan injured his back while lifting weights in the days leading up to spring training, the Yankees said.

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A-Rod: Did it look weird out there?

Making his first appearance in a Yankees uniform in 17 months, Alex Rodriguez drew cheers from the crowd as he joined his teammates for their workout Thursday (ESPN, Feb. 27).

“It’s been awhile,” he said. “Did it look weird out there?”

It may have been unfamiliar for both A-Rod and the fans, but it was still an exciting moment for the veteran.

“It was pretty awesome,” Rodriguez said after the workout. “I think sometimes you can take for granted being a major league baseball player. Just being able to go out there and stuff that I did when I was 10 years old. At the very least, I hope I get to finish my career up really appreciating the game.”

The fans certainly appreciated A-Rod’s game, cheering as he hit three of the 36 swings over the fence. Rodriguez was less impressed.

To read more of this story, click here

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees

Ellsbury confident, excited to see familiar faces at camp

While Jacoby Ellsbury said he had an easy transition to the Yankees last season, he’s backed with even more confidence coming in to his second season with the club (Sports Media 101, Feb. 26).

“I was talking to Mac [Brian McCann] about it; it’s just nice to see familiar faces and teammates,” Ellsbury said. “Just all those little things that you go through with a new team. It’s a simple, easy transition. I thought it was easy last year, but it’s just really nice this year to come in and know the clubhouse guys, little stuff like that.”

After resting a sore ankle for two or three weeks following the end of last season, Ellsbury was back at it, training hard during the of season.

“The body feels real good,” Ellsbury said. “I’m just excited to see all the hard work I’ve put in during the offseason during Spring Training and the season this year.” To read more of this story, click here

Brian Cashman

2015 Draft bonus pools released

The bonus pools for the 2015 First-Year Player Draft have been released (Baseball America, Feb. 26).

The amount is determined by each team’s draft position, the number of picks they have, and the amount of money they spent during the prior year’s draft.

The Yankees, who have been allotted $7,885,000, have the 16th overall pick and also pick in the compensatory round (30th overall) and second round (57th overall).

The pool money is used to give bonuses to all players selected in the first 10 rounds of the draft and players selected in the last 30 rounds who receive more than $100,000.

Any club that goes over the bonus allotment incurs a large tax.

The 2015 First-Year Player Draft will take place from June 8 through June 10.

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Yankees aren’t cheap, says Steinbrenner

Yoan Moncada might be off to spring training with the Red Sox instead of the Yankees, but no, the Yankees aren’t cheap, and Hal Steinbrenner is ready to tell you why (Post, Feb. 25).

“Our payroll is at $235 [million],” Steinbrenner said in an interview with the Post. “That is about as high as it has ever been. And on top of that add the roughly $30 million we spent last [July] when we saw a pretty good foreign market, one of the best there has been and we got six or seven of the top 10 or 11 guys. So there is money spent for not just now, but the future.”

So if there’s so much in the bank, how did Moncada slip through their fingers – and to the Red Sox of all teams?

“For Moncada, that was just how far I was going to go for a player who is 19 years old and at least two years away from the majors with all the uncertainties that can happen with a prospect even that good,” Steinbrenner said. “It was a hell of an offer. It might have ended up at $35 million if I continued to be in it. You can’t gauge how much someone else wants him. I can only make a sound judgment as how far I should go for a 19-year-old that is two years away, maybe three years away from contributing to the major league club. Right or wrong, everyone has their opinions.”

A-Rod passes physical with team doctor he sued

Alex Rodriguez passed his physical on Wednesday, completed by team physician Christopher Ahmad, whom A-Rod sued in 2013 for malpractice in the midst of PED suspension (Daily News, Feb. 25).

With Rodriguez cleared to play, making his comeback after his season-long suspension for using PEDs, Yankees co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner is hoping he’ll be able to contribute to the squad (Fox Sports, Feb. 23).

”Hopefully, this spring he can contribute; that’s the bottom line,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday. ”He can hit. He’s a natural. Hopefully, he can still do it. We’re just going take it as it goes. As far as whether he can contribute or not, we’ll have to see. Hopefully, he will. Hopefully, he’ll help the lineup.”