By George A. King III
TAMPA — Chris Carter admitted the waiting was the hardest part.
“Definitely started to get antsy after Feb. 1 and not sure of what is going on,’’ said Carter, who agreed to a one-year deal for $3.5 million with the Yankees last week and reported to spring training Saturday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “It was certainly tough waiting until late in the offseason.’’
Carter, 30, led the NL lead last season with 41 homers with the Brewers, who didn’t tender him a contract. And teams shied away from signing the first baseman when he became a free agent.
Unless Greg Bird has a morbid spring or gets hurt, the sweet-swinging lefty will be the Yankees’ starting first baseman. That could leave Carter as a possible platoon partner from the right side. He did that for the A’s in 2012.
Nevertheless, since then Carter has averaged 146 games a year, hit 131 homers, drove in 328 runs and whiffed 751 times.
Last season the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Carter batted .222 with 41 homers and 94 RBIs. Not playing regularly is often a problem for big players because they tend to have longer swings than smaller players.
Tyler Austin chipped a bone in the right foot at eight, was diagnosed with cancer in high school and fractured a hand in his fourth professional at-bat when he was hit by a pitch.
So, the broken navicular bone in the left foot, isn’t going to get the first baseman/outfielder down.
“It sucks to be honest. I was working hard to put myself in good position to make the team,’’ said Austin, who fouled a ball off the foot Monday while working out at the minor league complex. “I have been through a lot of worse things so I think I will be all right.’’
Austin had the foot in a walking beat and was moving around the clubhouse on crutches. He is expected to be sidelined for about six weeks.
Until Saturday, CC Sabathia had been held out of pitchers fielding plays as to not push his surgically repaired right knee. He joined the drills and will throw off a bullpen mound Sunday for the second time in camp.
Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t expected in camp Sunday for the first full-squad workout after his wife, Kelsey, gave birth to the couple’s second child Friday.