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Tim Kurkjian On Spring Training06:49
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The New York Yankees at spring training in Tampa, Fla. This week, Hal Steinbrenner announced that the team will cut its payroll over the next two seasons.  (AP)
The New York Yankees at spring training in Tampa, Fla. This week, Hal Steinbrenner announced that the team will cut its payroll over the next two seasons. (AP)

Two teams have new managers. Robin Ventura's post with the Chicago White Sox will be his first time managing at any level, which Kurkjian considers a tough assignment.

“He doesn’t have a very good team right now,” Kurkjian said, citing the team’s payroll cuts. “As much as I think he’ll do well – he’s smart, he’s clever, he understands the game – that’s a tough thing to throw a rookie manager into.”

Kurkjian said new Boston skipper Bobby Valentine won’t exactly have it easy, but anything will be an improvement over the way the Red Sox finished the 2011 season.

Kurkjian also dismissed the notion that New York Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner may reduce the team’s payroll.

“When that big possibility for a trade comes up July 31st and it’s going to be an expensive proposition, he’s going to be the first one in line,” Kurkjian said. “Because, and this is a good thing if you’re a Yankee fan, they’re there to win. They are in the business of winning, no matter how much it costs.”

In terms of players to watch, Kurkjian recommended keeping an eye on Seattle Mariners rookie catcher Jesus Montero. Once a Yankees prospect, Montero will be playing home games at Safeco Field, a stadium notoriously unfriendly to hitters.

“He’s the most interesting guy to me,” Kurkjian said. “Can he catch every day, and can he produce in a ballpark where hitters just go to die?”

It's never too early to predict the World Series. Kurkjian picked the Yankees and Phillies to be the last two teams standing in October.

This segment aired on March 3, 2012.

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