Edwin Encarnacion was the Yankees' greatest enemy today, as he homered off starter Freddy Garcia in the second inning, and then hit starter Freddy Garcia on the hand with a comebacker in the fourth, forcing him to leave the game. An inning later, Encarnacion took top prospect Manny Banuelos deep to center field for a three-run home run, a shot that gave Toronto a 6-1 lead. The Yankees mounted a rally, but it came up short and they lost 7-5. X-rays on Garcia's hand came up negative, so that's a sigh of relief. I don't think that Garcia should make the starting rotation, but he is still a serviceable pitcher who could throw in long relief and also give the Yankees valuable innings if someone in the starting rotation gets injured.
Henderson Alvarez, an underrated young pitcher who Jeff Sullivan profiled a few days ago, showed why he was deserving of praise by throwing three effective innings against the regular Yankees lineup, striking out three (only Brett Gardner and Russell Martin were missing). Curtis Granderson drove Derek Jeter in with a double in the third off Alvarez to tie the game at one after Encarnacion homered off Garcia. Besides the homer though, Garcia had been pitching well before he was knocked out of the game, striking out three and allowing two other hits with one walk. Corey Wade relieved Garcia and surrendered a two-run homer to J.P. Arencibia, making it 3-1, Jays.
The ManBan inning was not pretty in any sense of the word. Just look at boxscore: four-pitch leadoff walk, strikeout, flyout, four-pitch walk, Encarnacion three-run homer, triple, RBI single, groundout. Yikes. Those leadoff walks will kill you, Manny; stay away from them.
Other notes from the game:
- D.J. Mitchell is probably the least-discussed pitcher in the AAA rotation, but he has sure looked impressive this Spring. He pitched three no-hit innings with four strikeouts. He hit Chris Woodward (Fun fact: He somehow hit three homers in a game once. He has 33 in his career.) and Mike McDade with pitches in the eighth but was perfect otherwise. He has yet to allow an earned run thus far.
- Dewayne Wise filled in for Curtis Granderson and had two hits in two at bats, raising his Spring average to .462. He also stole a base in the seventh and advanced to third on an error, as he closed a four-run rally. Spring Training is Spring Training, but still nice to see.
- Curtis Granderson had two doubles, though one of them was one a pop-up to Omar Vizquel, so I don't know what that was about.
- Raul Ibanez was hitless in three at bats and struck out once. He continues to look like a corpse at the plate. I know it's Spring Training and players are rusty, but if he continues to hit this poorly (.083 batting average) by the end of March, is there any reason the Yankees should keep him?