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Year 2 all about adjustments for Volpe as he looks to take next big step

Year 2 all about adjustments for Volpe as he looks to take next big step

NEW YORK – It has been nearly a year since Anthony Volpe bounded through the doors of the home clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., beaming with excitement and relief.

He’d just been told that he’d outplayed his competition to become the Yankees’ shortstop, realizing then that his most challenging work was about to begin. With his place now secure as the Opening Day shortstop, Volpe has his sights set on an improved sophomore performance.

“I learned a ton last year about everything. We’ve been going to work,” Volpe said. “I think it’s just taking some of the strengths of my game and trying to make those more consistent. With that, ironing out some of the things that didn’t set me up for as much success as I expected.”

Playing in 159 games, Volpe became the first Yankees rookie to enjoy a 20-homer, 20-steal season, while joining Derek Jeter as the only shortstops to win Gold Gloves for the Bombers. Yet Volpe understands that there is room for improvement.

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Most notably, Volpe hopes to raise his batting average (.209) and on-base percentage (.283), challenges that could help him elevate the Yanks’ lineup. He also struck out 167 times, a significant jump after whiffing just 88 times in 422 at-bats during the 2022 Minor League season with Double-A Somerset.

“I do feel like in his DNA is a guy that has a chance to really control the strike zone,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s an area where he’s got to improve, and I think will continue to improve. Hopefully we see those improvements this year, but I think when you look up years from now, he’s going to be a guy that gets on base and has that ability combined with some power and speed.”

Boone said that he believes Volpe’s “makeup, intelligence and ability” will permit him to make the necessary changes.

“It’s just tightening up that strike zone discipline and then also being able to take away where teams found some holes and could exploit,” Boone said. “That’s all part of being not just a young big leaguer, but [any] big leaguer. It’s a game of adjustments.”

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Volpe said he has been working out at the team’s complex in Tampa, Fla., for about a month, where his focus has been on “different things I felt like I did well and didn’t do well with consistency, stuff like that. I’m trying to use all the resources in the organization. Everyone is helping out to help everyone improve.”

Other players spotted recently working out at the Tampa complex include Aaron Judge, Oswaldo Cabrera, Nestor Cortes, Jasson Domínguez, DJ LeMahieu, Jonathan Loáisiga, Carlos Rodón, Marcus Stroman, Gleyber Torres and Austin Wells.

Volpe said that he was working out with Kyle Higashioka in Arizona when the Juan Soto trade was announced in December, calling the club’s offseason moves for Soto, Stroman and Alex Verdugo “exciting” but also “bittersweet,” considering the talent that the Yankees had to surrender.

“I know a lot of the guys are ready to go,” Volpe said. “All in all, at the end of the day, it’s a great opportunity for everyone.”

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