While fans wait for DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka, and others to make decisions on their futures, key Yankees continue to ply their trade in winter ball. Deivi Garcia sniffed his first action since his infamous playoff start on Tuesday night, opening Tigres del Licey’s 4-3, 10-inning victory over Gigantes del Cibao.
Quick Cameo for Deivi
It was a little longer than ALDS Game 2, but not by much. Deivi began his LIDOM career with a fairly nondescript, 34-pitch outing to start the night for Tigres. Perhaps it was nerves, an unexpected delay of first pitch, or simply rust from his long layoff, but he didn’t look like himself in the first inning. Garcia had little command of his fastball and surrendered two walks before retiring the side. His second inning of work was much smoother: he punched out established big leaguer Odúbel Herrera on three pitches, all pinpoint fastballs with the third one a whiff, and then got Carlos Paulino to ground out to short on a good curveball. That was the end of his night. His final line: 1.2 innings pitched, no hits, no runs, two walks, and one strikeout. Out of Garcia’s 34 pitches, he tossed seven curveballs, two changeups, and three sliders, inducing four whiffs overall. Not a huge amount to analyze, but it was definitely a tale of two innings for Deivi this evening. He struggled in the first before settling down for the second.
A Star-Crossed Season Continues
The universe is determined not to let Licey play baseball. The team had a full week of action wiped out due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the clubhouse, and they returned to the field on Monday to notch a home win over Gigantes before trouble arose once again. The stage was set for action on Tuesday at Estadio Julián Javier, home field for Gigantes, but a few moments before first pitch the infield went dark as the grandstand lights mysteriously flickered off. Thankfully, power was restored in about 20 minutes and the game proceeded as scheduled. It’s possible, however, that the delay contributed to the decision to remove Garcia early in the game. Between Licey’s bad luck and the spate of rainouts that cost Toros del Este a number of tilts last week, it’s been tough for the active Yankees to get going in the early portion of the season.
News broke earlier this week that Gary Sánchez will soon join a number of his teammates in La Romana wearing Toros orange. Sánchez will become the seventh Yankee on the 40-man roster to begin a LIDOM campaign this year. His at-bats will surely be watched by fans far and wide, and his performance will at the very least be an indicator of his mental state as he heads into a crucial season. Sánchez’s first appearance for Toros will likely come on Friday.
News & Notes
Try as they might to give the game away, Tigres escaped with the close win on Tuesday. In the 8th, they pushed across a run to take a 2-1 lead and were poised to blow the game open, loading the bases with nobody out. But a weak popout from big-leaguer Welington Castillo and a double-play ball extinguished the threat, and Gigantes tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Yermin Mercedes crushed a two-run homer in the top of the 10th for a 4-2 lead, but Tigres surrendered a solo shot in the bottom half before finally shutting the door…Former Yankee prospect Abiatal Avelino had a quiet night, going 0-5 with a strikeout. In his one at-bat against Garcia, he flied out to right…Herrera singled and scored in the third and reached base to lead off the bottom of the ninth on an error, but pulled up after crossing the bag with what looked like a painful groin injury…Steven Souza Jr., former Tampa Bay Ray and piece in the trade that brought Brandon Drury to New York, came on as a pinch hitter for Gigantes in the ninth and singled the potential winning run over to third.