Gerrit Cole dominates in spring debut but Bombers fall 5-3 to Tigers

Mar 3, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Here are some of the latest updates from Yankees spring training games…

March 3, 9:21 pm

5-3 loss to Detroit Tigers

Gerrit Cole made his spring debut Friday night and was in midseason form. In three innings, the Yankees ace gave up just one hit while striking out four on just 50 pitches. Cole used a wide range of pitches to punch out four batters. He used sliders to strike out two, his fastball and knuckle curve for his other two.

Aaron Judge was hot at the plate. His first at-bat resulted in a double off the left-field wall while his second was a double down the left-field line. Judge’s final at-bat resulted in a groundout. Judge finished 2-for-3 with two doubles.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa showed some situational hitting in the second inning with a sacrifice fly that plated Willie Calhoun after a Harrison Bader double. IKF had a solid game, going 0-for-1 with a walk, stolen base and RBI.

– As for the bullpen behind Cole, Michael King dominated, pitching two perfect innings. Throwing 20 pitches (15 strikes), King struck out four without giving up a base runner.

Clarke Schmidtwho is fighting for the fifth starter role, gave up a solo shot to Zack Short on a 2-2 slider over the middle of the plate in the sixth inning. It wouldn’t get much better for Schmidt. The 27-year-old did not get out of the seventh after giving up three more runs. His final line: 1.2 IP (41 pitches), three hits, four ER, one walk and two strike outs.

– The Yankees picked up two runs in the seventh with No. 5 prospect OF Everson Pereira getting on base after a walk and scoring. But it wasn’t enough as the Tigers picked up another run in the ninth and the 5-3 win.

– OF Spencer Jones, the Yankees’ 2022 first-round pick and No. 7 overall prospect went 2-for-2 with a run scored.

March 2, 3:35 pm

9-1 win over Pittsburgh Pirates

Anthony Volpe got the party started early for New York, smashing a home run off Mitch Keller to lead off the game. It was Volpe’s first home run of the spring as the organization’s top prospect continues to turn heads at the dish.

He finished 2-for-3 with a HR, a walk and a strikeout while playing second base.

– In the second inning, non-roster invitee Rafael Ortega smacked a two-run homer to give the Yanks a 3-0 lead. The former Chicago Cubs outfielder signed a minor-league deal with the Bombers this offseason and is fighting for a roster spot.

Ortega improved his stock even more in the fifth inning, hitting a triple down the right-field line that scored another run. With the Yankees’ third outfield spot seemingly up for grabs, the 31-year-old could be an interesting option.

Wandy Peralta struck out the side in the second inning and displayed a masterful performance of utilizing the pitch clock to his advantage, messing with the timing of hitters.

– Eight different pitchers, including Lou Trivino and Clay Holmes, kept the Pirates hitless through eight innings. Pittsburgh notched its first hit in the ninth inning off Matt Bowman as Matt Frazier broke up the potential no-hitter with an infield single.

Oswald Peraza was hit on the wrist by a pitch in the second inning but immediately stole second base, showing no signs of discomfort. He scored on Ortega’s home run.

Estevan Florial had an RBI double in the fourth inning and Andres Chaparro hit a grand slam in the ninth, his second long ball of the spring.

March 1, 4:35 pm

4-2 win over Washington Nationals

Domingo German made his first start of spring training, and allowed one run on one hit with three strikeouts over 2.1 IP. Greg Weissert came in to replace German in the third and allowed one hit over 0.2 IP with a strikeout. Jonathan Loaisiga tossed a 1-2-3 fourth inning thanks to a double play.

– Catcher Carlos Narvaez was the hero in the ninth, crushing a two-run homer to give the Yanks the win. Narvaez finished the day 1-for-2 at the plate.

Harrison Bader went 1-for-2 with an RBI triple in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game up at 1-1. Bader then scored on a wild pitch to give the Yanks a 2-1 lead.

Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Kyle Higashioka all went 0-for-2, while DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzoand Aaron Hicks all went 1-for-2.

– Top prospect Anthony Volpe went 0-for-2 after replacing LeMahieu in the fifth at second base, before switching to shortstop in the sixth when Aaron Boone pulled IKF. Right fielder Estevan Florial went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, Oswaldo Cabrera played third and went 1-for-2, and CF Jason Dominguez went 0-for-1 with a walk and a strikeout.

Feb. 26, 4:20 pm

9-5 win over Toronto Blue Jays

Josh Donaldson singled in the top of the first and then advanced to third on Willie Calhoun‘s double. 1B Andres Chaparro drove in Donaldson to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead, and it could’ve been more, but Calhoun was thrown out at home by Kevin Kiermaier.

– Top prospect Anthony Volpe doubled down the right field line to lead off the third, and after a wild pitch allowed him to advance to third, he scored on Calhoun’s line drive to center field to make it 2-0. Volpe finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

– Catcher Carlos Narvaez and 2B Jesus Bastidas hit back-to-back homers in the top of the fourth to put the Yanks up 4-0. Volpe then singled and stole both second and third base. After Donaldson walked to give New York runners at the corners, Calhoun grounded into the double-play and Volpe scored to make it 5-0. The Yanks loaded the bases in the fifth, and Bastidas picked up the RBI with a walk as they took a 6-0 lead.

Matt Bowman replaced Mitch Spence with a runner on first in the bottom of the fifth and hit the first batter he faced. Bowman struggled in just 0.2 IP, as he let up two home runs and four runs to make it a 6-5 game.

Chaparro homered in the top of the sixth to put the Yanks up 7-5. CF Brandon Lockridge drove in two runs on a triple to center in the top of the eighth to give the Yanks a four-run lead.

Feb. 26, 3:35 pm

7-0 win over Atlanta Braves

– After three straight singles to open the game, catcher Jose Trevino gave the Yanks a 4-0 lead with a grand slam to left field.

Clarke Schmidt tossed two scoreless innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced.

Albert Abreu tossed a quick 1-2-3 third inning, and then Deiva Garcia kept the shutout going in the fourth as he allowed two baserunners (one error, one walk) but escaped by picking off Kevin Pillar at second base. The youngster then sent the Braves down in order in the fifth, as his day ended after two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.

TJ Rumfield drove in two runs on a double to right, and then came around to score on Mickey Gasper‘s double to make it 7-0 in the sixth.

Aaron Judge went 1-for-1 with a run scored, Gleyber Torres went 2-for-2 with a run scored, Aaron Hicks went 1-for-3 with a run scored, and Trevino finished 1-for-2 with four RBI. Oswald Peraza went 1-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.

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