The Yankees and Phillies combined for 16 runs on 24 hits, 15 of the latter for extra bases including Wilson Valdez’s two-run game-winning home run off Phil Hughes, as the Phillies won 9-7 on Monday. Earlier in the day, Hughes’ rival for the fifth-starter job worked five innings in an intrasquad simulated game. Also, the Yankees made a bunch of cuts. More below . . .
L – Brett Gardner (LF)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
R – Francisco Cervelli (C)
S – Ramiro Peña (SS)
R – Kevin Russo (3B)
R – Eduardo Nuñez (2B)
R – A.J. Burnett (R)
Subs: Juan Miranda (1B), Russo (2B), Reegie Corona (2B), Jorge Vazquez (3B), P.J. Pilittere (C), David Winfree (RF), Greg Golson (CF), Jon Weber (LF)
Pitchers (IP): A.J. Burnett (4), Royce Ring (1/3), Phil Hughes (4 1/3)
Big Hits: A two-run, two-out homer by Mark Teixeira off Cole Hamels. Teixeira went 4-for-4 in the game, adding a double and two singles for eight total bases. A triple by Ramiro Peña (2-for-4). Doubles by Tex, Curtis Granderson (2-for-3, BB), Kevin Russo (1-for-4), Eduardo Nuñez (1-for-3), and Jon Weber (1-for-1 and now hitting .571 on the spring with four doubles but no other extra base hits and no walks).
Who Pitched Well: Royce Ring retired the only man he faced, lefty Raul Ibañez. So there was that.
Who Didn’t: A.J. Burnett started the game by giving up a double to Jimmy Rollins and a two-run homer to Placido Polanco on his way to a five-run first-inning. Though he didn’t allow a run in his next three frames and struck out four, he was responsible for seven hits, three walks, and a wild pitch. Phil Hughes reportedly impressed, walking no one, striking out six, and continuing to work with his changeup, getting one of those Ks with the pitch. Still, he gave up three home runs in his 4 1/3 innings, including a two-run walk-off by Wilson Valdez. Reports were that the wind was blowing out and that Valdez’s homer and the solo shot by Dane Sardinha were both wall-scrapers. Still, I have a hard time putting a pitcher who gave up 16 bases off hits, including a game-winning homer, in the above category. Can we get a ruling on this?
Meanwhile, in the intrasquad simulated game: Facing a lineup that included Randy Winn, Jamie Hoffmann, Mike Rivera, Juan Miranda, Jon Weber, Marcus Thames, Reid Gorecki, and Greg Golson, Joba Chamberlain gave up two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out just one in five innings. Those two runs came in the fourth which opened with a Gorecki double, a Hoffmann walk, and a Miranda double that drove in both runners. Outside of that three-batter sequence, Joba was sharp, getting tons of ground balls and a few infield-pop ups. He got four outs in the bottom of the fifth and just two of the 16 outs he recorded came on fly balls to the outfield, while six of them came on ground-ball double plays. Still, that lone strikeout is discouraging. I can’t say I feel much better about Chamberlain’s outing than I do about Hughes’, though both actually pitched pretty well, or so it seems.
Ouchies: Mike Rivera has a sore hamstring.
Cuts: Between Sunday and Monday, the Yankees farmed out ten players and dumped one other. They are:
Jamie Hoffmann, the Rule 5 pick received via the Nationals in exchange for Brian Bruney was returned to the Dodgers, putting an end to a complete waste of everyone’s time. Hoffmann hit .130/.259/.174 in 23 spring at-bats.
Reegie Corona, who will play second base in Double- or Triple-A depending on where Kevin Russo winds up.
Eduardo Nuñez, who will play shortstop in Double- or Triple-A depending on where Ramiro Peña winds up. Both Nuñez and Corona are on the 40-man roster and were optioned down.
Jorge Vazquez, who could actually wind up playing third base in Scranton, but more likely will split first base and DH with Juan Miranda and Jesus Montero’s days off from catching.
Brandon Laird, who should play third base in Double-A.
Colin Curtis, who impressed in camp with a supposedly rebuilt swing, going 6-for-12 with a double and two homers and two talks against just one strikeout, that after hitting .397/.472/.731 in 78 at-bats in the Arizona Fall League. Still, he should have to prove it in the unfriendly hitting environment of Trenton before anyone really takes the 25-year-old busted prospect seriously.
Reid Gorecki, who will likely be the fourth outfielder in Scranton.
Jesus Montero, who will be the starting catcher in Triple-A and be given serious consideration as a mid-season DH replacement should Nick Johnson’s annual DL stay be a long one.
Austin Romine, who will be the starting catcher in Double-A and could move up to fill Montero’s spot in Triple-A if/when Montero gets the call.
Jason Hirsh, who impressed in camp, striking out five in 3 2/3 innings with a hit batsman as the only blight on his record. He will be in the Triple-A rotation and should be on the short list of pitching replacements for both the rotation and bullpen.
Dustin Moseley, who posted a 9.95 ERA in camp and, in my opinion, doesn’t deserve a spot in the Scranton rotation, though he seems to be in line for one.
For more on these 11 players, see my campers post.
Battles: The battle for the backup infield spot is now clearly down to Ramiro Peña and Kevin Russo. Peña is the defense-first choice. Russo is the offense-first choice.
The battle for the fifth outfielder spot is now down to Marcus Thames, David Winfree, and Greg Golson. Jon Weber is still in camp and has hit well, but he’s a left-handed hitter and the Yankees want someone who can spell the lefty-hitting Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner against lefties (though Gardner doesn’t need a platoon partner). Winfree is hitting .278 with just one walk and no extra-base hits. Thames is hitting .107 with just one walk and no extra-base hits. Both are non-roster players. Golson, whom I didn’t think was a legitimate contender, has hit .300 with two walks and three extra-base hits and is a strong defensive center fielder to boot. Golson could use more development time to reach his potential, but he has only struck out four times in 20 spring at-bats and is already on the 40-man roster.
The only non-roster pitchers still in camp are Royce Ring, who is challenging Boone Logan for a second-lefty job that probably doesn’t exist, Amaury Sanit, the Cuba defector, and Zach Segovia. None of those three has been charged with a run yet this spring, but I don’t expect any of them to make the team.