The Yankees made a pretty good start to Spring Training with two wins and two losses in the four games they played before the end of February:
25/2 Win vs Florida State University Seminoles 8-3
26/2 Loss vs Pittsburgh Pirates 5-6
27/2 Loss vs Pittsburgh Pirates 2-8
28/2 Win vs Detroit Tigers 7-4
But to be fair, Spring Training isn’t about the results but about individual development and performance.
The good news is that the Yankees have gone into Spring Training without any significant injuries. They have Teixeira coming into the Spring games late as he continues his rehabilitation from last season. They have Jeter taking it a little easier as his recovery continues. Alfonso Soriano has a bout of the ‘flu. Michael Pineda is an unknown quantity following a l-o-o-n-g injury…….. But they have nothing new to report that merits sleepless nights.
Vidal Nuno was the starter in the game on the 25th against the Seminoles and pitched two innings for one hit, no walks and no runs giving himself a leg-up on the fifth starter spot for which he is a minor possibility.
Brett Gardner picked up a single in his one at-bat of the game.
John Ryan Murphy began his pre-season by making an appearance at DH where he was a resounding success with two doubles in two at-bats.
In their first defeat against the Pirates, Jacoby Ellsbury was one of the few highlights, reaching base three times out of three with one single and two walks. Dean Anna, a career minor leaguer, started his attempt at cracking the 25-man roster with one hit at two at-bats. Another infielder with ambitions to make the team, Yangervis Solarte, hit two hits in 3 at-bats including one home run.
Potential number four starter, Ivan Nova, got off to a bad beginning with 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs in just 1 1/3 innings.
But there was plenty of positives in the bullpen with Betances, Claiborne and Cabral all advancing their claims to a spot with solid performances.
Derek Jeter made his first appearance of the Spring in the 2nd defeat against Pittsburgh but came away with nothing to show for his efforts. Kelly Johnson was also given his first start – at second base – and impressed with a hit (a double) and a walk.
David Phelps, another possible fifth starter, pitched two innings for one run which at least gives him something to build upon.
It’s also worth noting that most of the runs that have been given up have been conceded by pitchers who are make-weights and not likely to enter the reckoning for opening day.
Home run hitters caught the attention in the win against Detroit. Yangervis Solarte hit his second homer with 2 hits in 2 at-bats with 3 RBIs. Meanwhile, Brian McCann hit his first home run, as he begins to show just how much offensive power he will bring to the catcher’s position compared to last season.
Adam Warren (starter) and Shawn Kelley, Mark Montgomery and Preston Claiborne (relievers) were amongst those who impressed on the mound. Warren is another of those who has a good chance of the fifth starter role and gave a good account of himself.
Brian Gordon who had a short stint in the Yankees rotation in 2011, made a disastrous start in his attempt to earn some kind of spot in 2014. He conceded 6 hits and 4 runs in one innings and if he has any future with the Yankees, it looks like it will be with one of their minor league affiliates.
So Spring Training got off to a good start in February, which has continued on into March – but we’ll look at that next time.
On a different note, it’s worth noting that two players switched numbers from those they held last season –
Delin Betances was given 68
and Zoilo Almonte is now 65.