Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira started today at Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder. They hit third and fourth in a surprisingly deep group of 1-6 hitters featuring prospects Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, and J.R. Murphy. Tex and Youk took their cuts against Patrick Cooper, an unimportant 2010 14th round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers.
The game went off without a hitch for the two infielders, who were both held hitless by Cooper. They saw plenty of pitches though--in their first at bat in fact, neither swung until the final pitch. Cooper fell behind on both in a 3-1 count before recovering to get each of them. Youk was robbed on a full count pop up toward right field, as Erie's Tyler Collins made a nice diving catch. Tex popped up a high strike toward second base. There were several jokes about Tex being in midseason form made in the Twitterverse.
Youk popped up the first pitch he saw in the fourth inning, which took place immediately after an opposite field solo homer by Heathcott. Tex took the first pitch he saw for a strike, then watch four balls sail by and took his base. He moved to second on an infield single by Austin and almost broke for third when Cooper threw one in the dirt. Realizing his sloth-like speed, he thought better of it and stayed, then was stranded on a pop-up.
In their final at-bats, Youk took a four-pitch walk from Cooper, but the 23-year-old righty struck Tex out swinging on a 2-2 pitch low and in. (Austin followed with a two-run homer. Good day for Yankees prospects!)
Youk only had one defensive chance, snaring a soft line drive in the third. Tex handled throws on five groundouts. Perhaps the most amusing was a hard grounder back to the box that 240 lbs., 6'4" starter Zach Nuding dove to stop, then threw out the runner in time. If only video for that existed. Also, there was a player on Erie named Luis Castillo, but not of the Subway Series bobbling variety.
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