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Yankees drop spring opener to Red Sox, 8-5

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So much for an undefeated spring!

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ first game in four months played out similarly to a typical bout between the Bombers and the Red Sox. New York jumped ahead early, fell behind in the middle innings, then mounted a valiant but unsuccessful comeback. Easy come easy go, I guess.

The final score saw the Red Sox go over the Yankees, 8-5. You can read the full box score here, but since it’s spring training, we’re going to cover three talking points.

1. Of course the first batted ball the Yankees had to field went right to Miguel Andujar. Baseball is funny like that. He successfully made the out, but still double-clutched the ball before firing to first. I held my breath as he did that because I was afraid he would throw the ball away. Earlier this week Andujar told reporters he had no plans to change that part of his throwing approach.

The third baseman played three innings in the game, and he had a go of it on the field. He let a pair of balls go by him while diving. He didn’t have a chance on another groundball struck down the third base line, but defensive positioning likely had something to do with that.

One game isn’t enough of a sample to render a verdict on Andujar’s defense. The adjustments he made, however, didn’t appear noticeable this afternoon. He looked more or less like the Andujar of 2018.

2. In the game thread, I talked about how the Yankees traveled lightly to Fort Myers. They went with a skeleton crew of regulars. Here’s the exact passage:

As for the position players, four big names find themselves in action. Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and Clint Frazier anchor the lineup. A stud center fielder, two Rookie of the Year finalists, and former top prospect? That’s not bad for the first spring training game!

I legitimately forgot about Greg Bird. I saw Mike Ford in the starting lineup and assumed he was playing first base. Bird apparently didn’t appreciate the oversight. The 26-year-old went 2-for-2 with a double. He straight up rakes in February.

All winter long Aaron Boone explained that Luke Voit had the inside lane to the first base job. The Yankees manager hedged today, however, explaining that Bird does a better job with defense. If Bird wants to capitalize on that advantage, he will have to continue to hit like he did today.

3. How about Nestor Cortes Jr.? The left-hander pitched 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on six hits. That doesn’t look good! But do you know what looks great? His breaking ball.

In spring training, the results are secondary. The quality of the stuff matters far more. For Cortes Jr., he has a breaking pitch that can play at the major league level. While the bullpen looks crowded right now, the Yankees will assuredly call up a number of arms this summer. There always exists a revolving door bullpen arm. If he keeps flashing that quality stuff, expect Cortes Jr. to get a call at some point.

Highlight of the game

Gleyber Torres took Josh Smith deep in the first inning! He hit one out dead to center field.

The Yankees are back in action tomorrow afternoon when they take on the Rays. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM, and you can stream on MLB.tv or listen on WFAN.