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Miguel Andujar (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MLB Weekly Recap: The Week of Debuts

Monday 2/26: vs. Philadelphia Phillies (W 4-3, 4-0)

The night belonged to opening day third base candidate and rookie Miguel Andujar. The Dominican Republic native went 2-2 with a double and a walk-off home run after entering the game as a defensive replacement. Both batted balls were utterly crushed and hit on line drives.

Sonny Gray took the mound for the Bombers and looked pretty good. In two innings pitched, last year’s mid-season acquisition threw two scoreless innings. His curveball looked great, as did his fastball command.

Prospects Chance Adams and Cody Carroll took the ball as well and pitched to very different results. Adams struggled mightily with his command, while Carroll impressed by touching 97 with his fastball. Chance couldn’t locate anything from pitch one and was bailed out by catcher Gary Sanchez as the backstop picked off a runner at second base, allowing the young prospect to escape the jam by closing out the top of the third inning. In all, Adams permitted one hit, one run (earned), along with two walks. Cody did allow a game-tying home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to Scott Kingery. However, it was his lone blender of the evening.

Ben Heller, Jonathan Holder, and Brian Keller appeared in the game as weMiguelll. Heller allowed a run in two innings pitched. He walked two and struck out three. Holder and Keller both looked pretty good in their appearances.

Tyler Wade stayed hot – clubbing a single to bring home Brandon Drury to plate the Yankees first run in the bottom of the fifth. Giancarlo Stanton made his second appearance of the spring and struck out swinging three times. Catching prospect Jorge Saez had a productive night, going 1-1 with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning to bring home Erik Kratz, giving the Yankees a 3-2 advantage.

Tuesday 2/27: at Toronto Blue Jays (W 9-8, 5-0)

Make it five straight wins! With the victory, the Yankees became the last undefeated team in the Grapefruit League. Miguel Andujar connected for his second homer in as many days, and Danny Espinosa and Ryan McBroom also went deep.

The most significant hit of the day came off of Mark Payton’s bat as he ripped a line drive double to right field to plate three Yankees and give his team a 9-5 advantage. It was also another noteworthy performance by top prospect Estevan Florial, as he hit his second triple of the spring, walked, and scored two runs in his 1-1 effort.

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Chad Green was given the start and pitched to a line of one and two-thirds innings, three hits, one run (earned), no walks, and three strikeouts. The earned run a result of a Russel Martin big-fly in the bottom of the second inning. Cale Coshow nailed down his first save of the spring, in two-thirds innings of scoreless relief.

Wednesday 2/28: vs. Detroit Tigers (L 6-9, 5-1)

New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge prepares to bat during the third inning of a baseball spring exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Detroit spoiled Aaron Judge’s spring debut by handing New York it’s first loss of the spring. Gary Sanchez put the Yankees on the board in the bottom of the first inning as he sent first-pitch, two-out, 90 mph fastball off of Tigers starter Daniel Norris over the left field scoreboard for a mammoth two-run home run.

Detroit answered back in the top of the fourth by tagging Yankees starter Luis Cessa for four runs (three earned). Detroit’s first run came at the hands of an error by top prospect Gleyber Torres. Later in the inning,

John Hicks crushed a line drive three-run home run to left field. Cessa finished the day tossing two innings, allowing four hits, four runs (three earned), a walk, and struck out two. Dellin Betances made his first spring training appearance and looked just okay. His command was erratic, and delivery was inconsistent. He struck out one, walked one and gave up a run in two-thirds of an inning.

After Will Carter allowed a run in the top half of the eighth to make the game 6-2, the Yankees bats woke up and a rally sparked. The Bombers scored four runs off former Yankee farmhand Mark Montgomery to tie the game at six via an Estevan Florial two-run single, a run-scoring wild pitch, and a second run-scoring wild pitch on a dropped third strike.

Unfortunately, both Michael King and Andrew Schwaab permitted runs on a two-run double and sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth, respectively. Giancarlo Stanton collected his first hit of the spring and went 2-3 with a run scored and a crushed line drive opposite-field double that hit off the base of the wall.

Judge went 0-2 with a strikeout and a 5-3 groundout. The groundout was hit pretty hard, so that was encouraging. Aaron looked very comfortable at the plate as well, showing no signs of injury. Adam Warren and Brady Lail were both fantastic in relief Wednesday afternoon. Warren fired three scoreless innings, struck out one and permitted two hits. One of the hits was a home run that was ruled a double. Warren got very lucky that the umpires missed the call. Lail fired 1.1 perfect innings and struck out three.

Thursday 3/1: at Philadelphia Phillies (W 6-4, 6-1)

Miguel Andujar stayed sizzling hot, homering on two first-pitch fastballs off Phillies starter Nick Pivetta in the second inning and reliever Pedro Beato in the top of the third. The Dominican Republic native has now hit himself on base safely six times (four home runs) in his last 14 at-bats.

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The 22-year old prospect was joined by Brandon Drury, Tyler Austin, and Billy McKinney as Yankees who left the yard on Thursday via a solo shot. Top prospect Estevan Florial hit his third triple of the spring on a hard-hit ball to left-center in the top of the seventh.

Ronald Torreyes drove him in on a sacrifice fly off Pat Neshek the next at-bat. CC Sabathia made his spring debut as he started the game for the bombers and threw two perfect innings. The 37-year old southpaw struck out three and appeared to be in midseason form with his slider and fastball command in top form.

Domingo German and Wade LeBlanc each allowed a run in three and two innings pitched, respectively. German struck out three and permitted three hits in his impressive outing. LeBlanc didn’t look great, walking one and giving up three hits as well. Giovanny Gallegos entered the game in the eighth and couldn’t record an out. The righty was charged with two earned runs on two walks and two hits. Ben Heller continued to impress firing two perfect innings, escaping the Gallegos caused jam.

Friday 3/2: vs. Atlanta Braves (W 5-4, 7-1)

New York Yankees pinch hitter Russell Wilson, a Seattle Seahawks quarterback, warms up before batting during the fifth inning of a baseball spring exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves, Friday, March 2, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Tyler Austin clubbed New York to its seventh win on a walk-off two-run home run on Friday at GMS Field. Masahiro Tanaka toed the rubber for the Yankees and struggled mightily in his 2018 spring training debut. Atlanta scored four runs in the game, all were charged to the Japanese native. In just one and one-third innings, Tanaka permitted the four runs on four hits (one home run), and one walk.

Pitching was excellent following his departure. Jordan Montgomery tossed three scoreless innings, gave up just two hits, walked none, and struck out five. Prospect Jonathan Loaisiga looked great in his first spring appearance, striking out two in a flawless inning of work.

Offensively, Didi Gregorius has himself a great day – going 3-3 with an RBI. Giancarlo Stanton’s bat his heating up as well. The reigning National League MVP went 2-3 with two doubles and a run scored.

The most significant story of the day may have come in the bottom of the fifth inning when Russell Wilson received an at-bat when he pinch hit for Aaron Judge. Wilson struck out on three pitches by Braves reliever Max Fried.

Opening Day hopeful Miguel Andujar collected another extra-base hit when he laced a 94-mph fastball into left-center field for an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning to put the Yankees on the board.

Saturday 3/3: at Boston Red Sox (W 5-3, 8-1)

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The Yankees took care of business at Jet Blue Park, besting the Red Sox to officially earn the title of “Grapefruit League leaders” with their eight exhibition victories. Aaron Boone made sure to introduce his top young prospects to the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

Gleyber Torres, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, Billy McKinney and Jake Cave led the group of minor leaguers who were hand-picked to join the big-league team in Saturday’s game. Veteran center fielder Aaron Hicks drove home the first run of the game with a home run off Red Sox starter Brian Johnson in a 1-1 count on a high fastball. Hicks crushed the ball over the Boston bullpen in right-center field.

Boston would tie the game in the bottom of the fourth, as Brock Holt singled home Xander Bogaerts on a hard-hit grounder to center field. The Yanks would regain the lead in the top of the sixth on an Austin Romine RBI single. The Red Sox immediately responded by scoring two to take the lead off prospect Brady Lail in the bottom half of the frame.

New York would indeed regain control and this time hold on to the lead after posting a three-run top of the eighth. Jeff Hendrix doubled home Danny Espinosa and Kyle Holder, and then Miguel Andujar singled home, Hendrix.

Jonathan Holder locked down his second save of the spring striking out two in two scoreless innings of work. He permitted two hits but walked none. Adams received the start and looked better than his first outing. His control was shaky, especially with his fastball. Having said that his numbers looked good on the line score, two innings of scoreless baseball with one hit, one walk, and no strikeouts.

Sheffield ‘stuff’ looked great again, this time pitching to a better result than his outing at Philadelphia last week. In all, the southpaw fired two innings, permitted one run (earned) on two hits, and two walks while striking out one. Cody Carroll impressed again, earning the victory over an inning of work.

Sunday 3/4: vs. Tampa Bay Rays (L 1-9, 8-2)

Sunday’s game was flat out ugly. The Yankees made two errors (both by Danny Espinosa) leading to four unearned runs, while the pitching staff gave up five earned themselves. Cale Coshow was the most prominent culprit, allowing three runs (all earned) on two walks, two hits and a three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning.

Aroldis Chapman made his spring debut, as the hard-throwing lefty only made it one-third of an inning and was charged with one run on one hit. Ben Heller came into clean up after Chapman’s exit and struck out three, walked one, and gave up a hit in one and one-third innings of work. Heller did allow three runs, but they were all unearned due to errors.

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Giancarlo Stanton debuted in left field and made a very negative first impression as he misplayed three fly balls. The Yankees lone run came off the bat of Tyler Wade in the bottom of the fifth inning via a sacrifice fly. To note, Tampa Bay’s starter was former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi.

On Deck This Week

Monday 3/5: Scheduled off day  

Tuesday 3/6: at Detroit Tigers, 1:05 PM

Wednesday 3/7: at New York Mets, 1:10 PM (SNY, MLB.TV)

Thursday 3/8: vs Philadelphia Phillies, 1:05 PM (YES, MLB.TV)

Friday 3/9: at Atlanta Braves, 6:05 PM

Saturday 3/10: vs New York Mets, 1:05 PM (YES, MLB.TV)

Sunday 3/11: at Miami Marlins, 1:05 PM

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