Earlier in the day, the Yankees reached an agreement with veteran first baseman Adam Lind. The 34-year old, who signed a minor league pact with the club, is expected to provide some depth should he stick with the team through spring training, especially at a position where the Yankees are a little thin. As if responding directly to the move, Tyler Austin - the other possible backup candidate at first base - crushed a walk-off home run to beat the Braves. That’s New York’s seventh win of the spring.
Austin’s best attribute is almost certainly his opposite-field power, and that’s been on display in spring training thus far. With a roster that’s under pressure to fill the final bench role, his power and ability to play first competently may make him hard to leave off the 25-man come Opening Day. He took over for Greg Bird for half the game, after all.
Meanwhile, I feel obligated to deliver the daily Miguel Andujar update. The star of spring training did NOT hit any home runs today, but delivered a two-run double that scored the Yankees’ first runs of the game. It’s still not clear what the third base situation is for this team, but Andujar is making himself impossible to ignore.
On the pitching side, Masahiro Tanaka made his first start of the spring, and first appearence since declining his opt-out last fall. Hopefully Tanaka used today to shake off the offseason rust, as he struggled in 1.1 innings against the Braves. He was charged with four runs and allowed five baserunners, while striking just one out. Again, it was his first start of the spring, so nobody is panicking yet, but there’s lots of kinks for Tanaka to work out before the games start to count.
After Tanaka, though, the pitching looked to be in fine form. Jordan Montgomery in particular was steller, striking out five Braves in his three innings of work. Monty perhaps has the most to prove of Yankee starters in 2018, and seems up to the task in Spring Training, with an ERA of 0.00 and more than a strikeout per inning through his first two assignments.
Finally, we must update you on Russell Wilson’s first professional at-bat in six years. The Seahawks quarterback was set down on strikes leading off the fifth, but did show off a shade of patience at the plate.
For those keeping track at home, Wilson lasted longer and saw more pitches than fellow not-a-baseball-player Tim Tebow did for the Mets.
The Yankees travel to Ft. Myers to take on AL East rivals Boston tomorrow, with a 1:05 pm EST first pitch. The game will be broadcast on MLB Network.