Though the weather in New York on Saturday was like the inside of a dishwasher, things cleared up in Florida, allowing the Yankees to finally get back in action with a pair of split-squad games. At home, the Yankees jumped all over the Orioles Jeremy Guthrie and held on for a 5-3 win thanks to four strong innings from Alfredo Aceves. On the road, the Yankees were held down by a pair of Tiger pitchers trying to make comebacks as Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman combined to allow just two runs in six innings leading to a 6-2 Detroit win.
Meanwhile, the Yankees made their first cuts of the spring, farming out eight pitchers and a catcher. Details below after the game summaries.
Yankees 5, Orioles 3
L – Brett Gardner (CF)
L – Nick Johnson (DH)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
L – Curtis Granderson (LF)
S – Randy Winn (RF)
L – Juan Miranda (1B)
R – Brandon Laird (3B)
S – Ramiro Peña (SS)
Subs: P.J. Pilittere (1B), Reegie Corona (2B), Jesus Montero (C), Jon Weber (RF), Greg Golson (CF), Colin Curtis (LF)
Pitchers (IP): Javier Vazquez (3), Alfredo Aceves (4), Royce Ring (1), David Robertson (1)
Big Hits: A double over the left-fielder’s head by Nick Johnson (2-for-3, BB). Jorge Posada singled three times in four trips. Robinson Cano and Brandon Laird each singled twice in four trips.
Who Pitched Well: Everyone. With a strong wind blowing straight out, Javier Vazquez and Alfredo Aceves each gave up a home run on a gut-high fastball on the inside half of the plate (to Ty Wigginton and Garrett Atkins, respectively), but otherwise gave up very little. Vazquez issued one walk, which scored on Wigginton’s homer, and three harmless singles while striking out two in three frames. Aceves walked no one in his four innings, allowed two harmless singles, one of which only traveled about 20 feet up the first base line, and Atkins’ homer was a solo shot, though he only struck out one batter. Royce Ring worked around a single for a scoreless eighth. David Robertson worked around a single and struck out the other three batters he faced in the ninth.
Nice Plays: Early in the game, Ramiro Peña ranged to his left to snag a hard grounder, spun and made a strong, accurate off-balance throw for the out. Later, he dove to his right and scrambled to his knees to start a 6-4-3 double play. Brandon Laird also made a nice play ranging to his left in front of Peña and firing a strike to first base. Also, I have to tip my hat to Ty Wigginton, who is playing second base for the O’s in place of Brian Roberts, who is out with a herniated disk in his back. Wigginton ranged to his right, snagged a grounder behind second base and flipped it to Cesar Izturis with his glove while in stride to start a 4-6-3 double play.
Oopsies: Juan Miranda had a bounder about one foot to his right clang off his glove. It ricocheted right to Robinson Cano, but Miranda missed first base with his left foot while taking the throw and ran into the runner. He got an error, though I’m not sure for which part of that play.
Tigers 6, Yankees 2
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
R – Marcus Thames (LF)
R – Francisco Cervelli (C)
R – Jamie Hoffmann (CF)
R – David Winfree (DH)
R – Eduardo Nuñez (2B)
Subs: Mike Rivera (1B), Kevin Russo (SS), Jorge Vazquez (3B), Austin Romine (C), Reid Gorecki (RF), Edwar Gonzalez (LF), Jose Gil (DH)
Pitchers: Chad Gaudin (3), Sergio Mitre (4), Boone Logan (1)
Big Hits: A double by Alex Rodriguez (1-for-3). Mark Teixeira singled twice and walked in three trips. Francisco Cervelli, wearing his new helmet singled twice in three trips. Derek Jeter singled twice in four trips.
Who Pitched Well: Boone Logan threw a perfect ninth inning.
Who Didn’t: Chad Gaudin gave up three runs in his three innings on a walk, three singles and a pair of doubles while striking out just one. His spring ERA is now 7.71. Sergio Mitre gave up three runs in four innings on a walk, three singles, a double, and a Johnny Damon solo homer, though he did also strike out three.
Oopsies: Jorge Vazquez booted one at the hot corner. Jamie Hoffmann played a fly ball by Miguel Cabrera into a double in center, but wasn’t charged with an error.
Cuts: Three pitchers on the 40-man roster were optioned out: Andrew Brackman, Christian Garcia, and Wilkin De La Rosa. Brackman was optioned to High-A Tampa, where he’ll slot into the rotation and hope to prove that his terrible 2009 season was the result of rust, bad mechanics, and his continuing rehab from his 2007 Tommy John surgery. Garcia, who is coming off a season largely lost to elbow surgery, was optioned to Double-A Trenton, where he’ll also be in the rotation. De La Rosa was optioned to Triple-A Scranton, though there’s some thought that he might actually open the season in Double-A if the Triple-A rotation fills up. He could become an option as a second lefty for the major league bullpen if he pitches well.
Five other non-roster pitchers were reassigned: Kei Igawa, Kevin Whelan, Jeremy Bleich, Wilkins Arias, and D.J. Mitchell. Igawa is persona non grata and likely headed back to the Scranton rotation. Whelan could be in the pen in Trenton or Scranton, but wherever he lands he’ll have to work on reducing his walk rate. Bleich, the Yankees’ top 2008 draft pick, should start in the Trenton rotation. Arias, a lefty, should be in the Scranton bullpen. Mitchell could start the season in the Double-A rotation after a breakout pro debut last year. Whelan, Bleich, Arias, and Mitchell combined for just three innings pitched in the exhibition games.
Kyle Higashioka was the catcher reassigned. He’ll be making his full-season debut this year and is no longer needed in camp with eight fewer pitchers around.