Greg Bird keeps up his hot hitting
CLEARWATER, FL - Split into two squads at Instructs, the Yankees had two different final outcomes against the Phillies, winning 8-6 in one game and losing 6-5 in the other, but the offensive production in each game remained a constant and it was highlighted by a surging Greg Bird.
First baseman Greg Bird hit .400 in his eleven-game trial with the Staten Island Yankees late in the season and his hot hitting has carried over into Instructs. He led off his game with a towering solo home run to right field in his first at-bat and then singled to right in his second at-bat before singling sharply to left field in his third and final plate appearance in a 3-3 performance that helped the Bombers keep it close in a 6-5, abbreviated seven-inning loss.
Gary Sanchez, the Bombers' designated hitter on Monday, also went deep with a no-doubter solo home run deep over the left field fence in a 2-3 afternoon that also included a laced broken bat single hard to left field.
Bombers Starting Lineup: Jake Cave, Austin Aune, Greg Bird, Miguel Andujar, Chris Breen, Gary Sanchez, Rob Refsnyder, Ravel Santana, Claudio Custodio, Eduardo De Oleo.
Right-hander Jordan Cote started the game for the Bombers and had a bit of a rough go of it, surrendering four of the six runs allowed, but he certainly wasn't helped by his defense. He allowed three hits in his 1 2/3 innings, showing a very good curveball at times, but fell victim to three Austin Aune [0-4, K] errors that led to two unearned runs.
Reliever Danny Burawa was showing pretty good command in relief of Cote after allowing a two-run triple to the first batter he faced on a misplayed ball by right fielder Ravel Santana [0-3, K]. He retired the next four batters he faced though in order and looked quite strong for somebody who missed the entire 2012 season.
Outfielder Chris Breen had a similar no-doubt home run of his own in the loss, a monstrous two-run home run deep over the left field fence in a 2-3 [K] afternoon.
Rob Refsnyder [1-3, K] had a decent day at the plate but a remarkable day in the field, making a few good looking defensive plays at second base. Word around camp is he has looked quite good at the new position and he certainly proved it on Monday.
Right-handers Gabe Encinas [2 IP, 1 H, one unearned run, 1 K] and Zach Arneson [1 IP, 2, H, 1 ER, 3 K's] both looked overpowering when they kept the ball down. Both, however, left a couple of pitches up in the zone and that's when they gave up their hits.
Jake Cave [1-4, RBI], Miguel Andujar [1-3, 2 K's], Claudio Custodio [1-2, HBP, run], and Francisco Arcia [1-1, 2B] each had hits in the loss.
The Yankees' lineup on the other field was a bit more evenly spread out from a production standpoint, including designated hitter Slade Heathcott. He led off the game with a booming double over the right fielder's head and later had an RBI single to right field. He did, however, strike out in his only other two at-bats.
Yankees Starting Lineup: Slade Heathcott, Abiatal Avelino, Angelo Gumbs, Tyler Austin, Dante Bichette, Yeicok Calderon, Kyle Roller, Peter O'Brien, Saxon Butler, and Erickson Leonora.
While he didn't have the greatest offensive day, second baseman Angelo Gumbs [1-2, RBI sacrifice fly] had the play of the day in either game. With the bases loaded, a ball was hit sharply up the middle. Gumbs ranged far to his right, made a stretched-out grab for the ball, and with his momentum carrying him to left field he flipped the ball behind his back to second base to turn an inning-ending double play to save right-hander Hayden Sharp from giving up a run.
Dominican shortstop Abiatal Avelino made quite the impression in Monday's Yankee victory. He not only went 3-4 with a triple, three runs scored, and a stolen base, but he played a smooth and error-free defensive game in the field. The 17-year old looked like he not only belonged on the field but commanded it.
Catcher Peter O'Brien didn't mash the ball like he had at the end of the Staten Island season but he did chip in with a 3-3 performance and scored a run.
Dominican right-hander Luis Severino gave up four of the six runs allowed in the Yankee game in his lone inning of work and he battled command issues [he walked two, threw a wild pitch, and allowed three hits], but he has an electric arm. Stuff-wise and even physically he resembles a young Jose Ramirez.
Tyler Austin [1-2, 2B, RBI sacrifice fly], Dante Bichette [1-3, RBI, K], and Erickson Leonora [1-2, RBI, BB] all had hits in the win. Saxon Butler [0-1, 2 BB's] also reached base safely in the game.
Reliever Nick Goody allowed a double in his lone inning of relief, a scoreless final frame.
Word around camp is that left-hander Manny Banuelos is slated to have Tommy John surgery in the next week or so.
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