The GCL Yankees 2 won their season opener against the Braves 7-2 in Orlando. Leonardo Garcia, Juan Jimenez, and Gean Batista combined to allow five hits, no earned runs, and strike out nine batters, giving the Yankees a strong pitching performance to kick off the season. Garcia made his American debut, while Batista is in his second Gulf Coast League go-round and Jimenez is there for the third straight year at age 21.
The offense did most of its damage in the eighth and ninth innings, scoring six of the Yankees’ seven runs. Second baseman Griffin Garabito, right fielder Pedro Urena, designated hitter Dominic Jose, and first baseman Kevin Cornelius each had two hits, with Cornelius delivering a three-run homer and driving in four in the game. That quartet indicates the diversity of the current GCL 2 roster. Garabito is only 17, signed out of the Dominican Republic last year. Urena is also from the Dominican, but he is 20 and played the last two years in the Dominican Summer League. Jose was drafted out of Stanford last year, played in the GCL, and is 22. Cornelius is also 22, but he is in his third season with the organization and in the GCL.
The GCL Yankees 1 did not fare as well. They dropped their opener 5-2 to the Phillies in Tampa. The only offense came from the first five hitters in the lineup, as shortstop Danienger Perez, right fielder Leonardo Molina, third baseman Donny Sands, first baseman Chris Gittens, and center fielder Trey Amburgey all had a hit a piece. Molina’s was a double.
Perhaps of the most interest in this game was that Vicente Campos (formerly Jose Campos), acquired in the Michael Pineda trade and formerly on the 40-man roster, returned to the mound after a lengthy rehab following elbow surgery. Campos is still only 22 and, when healthy, is very much a prospect. If his premium stuff returns, he could climb the ladder quickly over the next couple of years. Relieving Campos in the game was former Major League All-Star Andrew Bailey, who is rehabbing his latest shoulder ailment. Bailey remains a long-shot to return to the big leagues, but the organization likes him and he’ll have every opportunity. Campos took the loss, giving up three runs in 4.2 innings, but Bailey pitched 1.1 scoreless and struck out two.