The Yankees won both ends of their split squad contests today, defeating the Astros 3-1 and the Pirates 13-10. If you like following the minor leagues, the Pittsburgh game was right for you. Here are the notable performances from the day:
1) Phil Hughes had his first rough outing of the spring, allowing 5 baserunners and 2 HR’s in 3 innings. After the game, he said:
“My command wasn’t perfect and I was behind in the count a lot, nibbling with my fastball. The home run to Morgan was a decent pitch and the other, I was behind in the count,” he said. “I was trying to get my change-up some work and mix in some cutters. I feel strong. I feel good.”
Although you hate to see him struggle, it is important to note that he was working on some secondary pitches. He really needs those to make his two primary pitches less predictable. This bad outing should quiet the “Joba to the bullpen Phil to the rotation” people for a bit. I hope.
2) Mark Melancon got bombed, allowing 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning. He probably needed a perfect spring to make the club, so you can cross him off of your short list for the last bullpen slot.
3) Ian Kennedy was much improved, going 3 innings, allowing 1 unearned run, and striking out 5.
4) The Yankees two top hitting prospects, Jesus Montero and Austin Jackson, both homered, with Montero’s being a grand slam. Jackson seems to be getting more and more comfortable at the plate each day, and Montero is hitting .667 for the spring. It should be fun to watch them develop.
5) In the Houston game, AJ Burnett went 4 perfect innings, striking out 3. He has been awesome thus far, and I will restate my huge expectations for him. He is going to have an excellent season.
6) Finally, Edwar Ramirez hurled his first inning of the spring, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. The events of the last few days have me feeling that Edwar and Brett Tomko will nab the last two bullpen slots, with Rivera, Bruney, Veras, Marte, and Coke filling out the league’s most quietly efficient group of relievers.