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Nestor Cortes (Bryan Green)

GCL Yankees Drop Both Games

With a win over the Tigers on Saturday, the GCL Yankees 2 would have lowered their magic number to win the division to one. Not so fast.

The Tigers beat the Yankees 2 5-1 in a game that saw only three Yankees get hits. Center fielder Jose Augusto Figueroa and designated hitter Chris Gittens had two hits apiece and third baseman Tyler Palmer homered for the Yankees’ only run.

Let’s focus on the only productive offensive players for the Yankees 2 Saturday. Palmer, 21, is in his first season of professional baseball despite being drafted in the fourth round in 2011. He has played third, short, second, and outfield this summer, and he’s now hitting .273/.362/.468 with three home runs. Gittens, a huge (6’5″, 250 lbs.) first baseman the Yankees drafted in the 12th round this year, is 8 for his first 26 with an .868 OPS. And Figueroa, who’s been on fire lately, now leads the team in hits with 52.

The Tigers did all of their damage against starter Cale Coshow, who didn’t make it out of the first inning despite facing only six batters, and Nestor Cortes, who allowed seven hits and three runs in four innings but struck out five. Coshow is coming back from an injury, so hopefully his early exit does not indicate a re-injury.

The GCL Yankees 1 didn’t fare much better. They fell to the Pirates 6-4 and put up sixteen fewer hits than they did the day before. Designated hitter Bryan Cuevas and left fielder Cesar Diaz each had two hits and drove in runs, and shortstop Thairo Estrada and right fielder Dominic Jose both doubled.
Cuevas, in particular, has been an interesting follow of late. He is smoking hot right now, hitting .444 in his last ten games. At .338 for the season, Cuevas is second in the league in batting. He’s also second in the league with seven triples and impressively second in slugging percentage at .518. Cuevas, 20, is spending his second season in the GCL despite a solid rookie campaign last year. He can play second and short, and his bat seems to be coming along nicely.

The Pirates did their damage in the fourth inning by scoring five runs against Dayton Dawe, who is struggling through his third GCL season. The 20-year-old Canadian now has a 6.68 ERA this year. On the bright side, reliever Matt Marsh, an undrafted free agent, struck out four of the six batters he faced and now has 21 punch-outs in 13.2 innings.

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