The Yankees are down to just 26 players in camp and are using non-prospects as late-game subs. They’re also cruising through their spring schedule, having won seven in a row and 16 of their last 18, including today’s 6-3 win over the Reds. They are very much ready to come north.
L – Brett Gardner (CF)
S – Nick Swisher (LF)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
R – Xavier Nady (DH)
S – Melky Cabrera (RF)
R – Cody Ransom (3B)
R – Angel Berroa (SS)
S – Ramiro Peña (2B)
Pitchers: Joba Chamberlain, Brian Bruney, Edwar Ramirez, Phil Coke, Dan Giese
Opponent: The Reds’ starters
Doubles by Melky Cabrera (1-for-2), Mark Teixeira (1-for-2), and Angel Berroa (2-for-4). Brett Gardner went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot.
Who Pitched Well:
Phil Coke and Dan Giese each struck out two in a perfect inning. Brian Bruney retired the only two men he faced, striking out one of them. Joba Chamberlain allwed two runs on five hits (four of them singles) and three walks in 5 1/3 innings, but also struck out six and two of those three walks, and one of those runs came as he was running out of gas in the sixth. He’ll pitch in a minor league intrasquad game in Tampa on Sunday before joining the rest of the team in Baltimore on Monday.
With Xavier Nady and Brett Gardner officially declared the staring right and center fielders, the Yankees have finalized their Opening Day bullpen by reassigning Brett Tomko and optioning Alfredo Aceves and Dan Giese to Triple-A. That leaves Jonathan Albaladejo as the last man in the Opening Day pen which will look like this:
R – Mariano Rivera
R – Brian Bruney
L – Damaso Marte
R – Jose Veras
L – Phil Coke
R – Edwar Ramirez
R – Jonathan Albaladejo
I still want David Robertson in there, but he’ll likely be the first man up if any of the above struggles (though only Coke, Ramirez, and Albaladejo have options left).
The Yankees also reassigned Kevin Cash, guaranteeing that they won’t cary an extra catcher.
With Alex Rodriguez headed for the 15-day disabled list, the last spot on the roster is down to Angel Berroa and Ramiro Peña, and the Yankees will have to open a spot on the 40-man roster to make room for the winner, with Giese and Juan Miranda the top candidates to be dropped from the 40-man to make room. It seems likely that both players will travel north with the team for this weekend’s two-game preseason series against the Cubs, and the loser will then head over to Scranton to be the starting shortstop.
Meanwhile, the Scranton rotation will be Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves, Kei Igawa, and Jason Johnson. Tomko will pitch out of the pen, but to his displeasure, though he doesn’t have an out in his contract until June 1. More importantly, why on earth are the Yankees wasting Triple-A starts on Johnson when George Kontos has nothing left to prove in Double-A?
Chris Malec was a 16th round pick out of UC Santa Barbara in 2005. A corner infielder who can also play second and the outfield, he has great plate discipline (182 walks against just 142 strikeouts in his three-plus minor league seasons), but is a bit undersized, lacks power or speed, and has been old for his levels.
Taylor Grote was drafted out of a Texas high school with the Yankees’ eighth-round pick in 2007. An athletic outfielder, he played left field for the short-season Staten Island Yankees last year and struggled at the plate, but he was just 19.
Mitch Hilligoss was drafted as a shortstop out of Purdue with a sixth-round pick in 2006, but he’s since moved to third base. He has speed, but neither patience nor power and was awful in High-A last year at age 23, hitting .241/.287/.298.
Dan Brewer was the Yankees’ eight-round pick last June, and was taken out of Bradley University. He hit well for Staten Island last year at the age of 20, albeit without much power, and stole 10 bases in 11 attempts. He projects as a utility man as he is athletic and played the infield early in his college career before switching to the outfield.