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Yankees 6, Phillies 4: The infield competition is lit

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Can all of these guys make the team?

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When I wrote the game thread today, I suggested that the unfolding third base competition might be interesting to watch. Apparently I undersold that. Based on today’s 6 - 4 victory over the Phillies, it’s going to be a thriller.

Miguel Andujar took this afternoon to remind the front office that he has no interest in an assignment to Triple-A Sranton/Wilkes-Barre. The top prospect saw exactly two pitches across his first two at-bats. He deposited both of them into the seats. Nick Pivetta and Pedro Beato were the unfortunate pitchers who served up the home runs, in the first and third innings, respectively.

To date, Andujar has swatted four homers on the spring. He’s completely locked in. “The kid’s a stud,” said Brandon Drury, Andujar’s top competition at the hot corner. “He’s a good player.”

Drury, himself, had a fine game. He went one-for-three with a home run of his own. Drury’s homer came off Zach Eflin in the fifth inning. It’s still way too early to make judgements on who the Yankees should bring north, but these two are making strong cases. Right now, the best scenario may feature Andujar at third base and Drury at second.

The Yankees weren’t done with the long ball, though. Billy McKinney and Tyler Austin each crushed solo shots in the middle innings. Austin showed off his opposite field pop with a home run to right center field off Elfin. McKinney, on the other hand, took Pat Neshek deep. Considering these two may be duking it out for the backup first base job, I’m willing to group them all together and pronounce the infield competition as completely lit.

The infielders weren’t the only players to get in on the fun, though. Estevan Florial continued his hot spring. He legged out a triple against Neshek in the seventh inning, before scoring on a Ronald Torreyes sacrifice fly. It’s become abundantly clear why the Yankees have made Florial off-limits in trade talks. He just wills things to happen.

There were even some notable pitching performances. CC Sabathia looked very sharp for his first spring outing. The big left-hander tossed two nearly-perfect innings, striking out three in the process. A healthy and effective Sabathia would really do wonders for the back of the rotation. Today’s start doesn’t guarantee anything, but he sure did a fine job.

As for the bullpen, Ben Heller had a strong showing as he closed the game out. Domingo German looked sharp at moments, while Wade LeBlanc tossed two uninspiring innings. As for Giovanny Gallegos, well, I’m sure he’s just happy to be here. There were too many good things happening in this game to get hung up on a rough relief performance.

The Yankees welcome the Braves tomorrow for Masahiro Tanaka’s first start of the spring. He’ll take on Scott Kazmir. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM and you can watch on YES.