A scrimmage with the Orioles that you can’t watch unless you’re physically in Sarasota is not the most exciting thing — and after two home runs that earned them their three runs, the Yankees were totally hitless. Maybe it’s for the best that the cameras weren’t there.
The Yankee hitters struggled quite a bit against the Baltimore pitchers today. They struck out 12 times total and only recorded a trio of hits. Their runs came entirely off the bats of David Freitas and — more significantly — Josh Donaldson.
Freitas is a 33-year-old journeyman catcher who has had 102 at-bats across a variety of MLB teams since 2017, and who spent part of the 2021 season playing in Korea, then joined the Tampa Bay Rays Triple-A team. With catcher Ben Rortvedt suffering an oblique injury, who knows — he could be the backup catcher on the Opening Day roster if the team wants to go in a different direction than Rob Brantly.
Freitas, who has one MLB home run to his name, launched one of the two-run variety off of Orioles starter Ryan Hartman. After DJ LeMahieu lined out and Hartman was replaced by Garrett Farmer, Donaldson sent out a solo home run of his own:
Could we interest you in a JD home run video? pic.twitter.com/guGY2B1NxR— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 19, 2022
The Donaldson acquisition is maybe going to be subject to even more scrutiny after the Twins essentially dumped his salary to sign Carlos Correa — a big showing on offense this season would quiet that.
Otherwise, the Yankees were almost totally silent with the bats. The only other hit outside of the two home runs was a Phillip Evans single. Aaron Hicks at least walked once (to go along with a strikeout). Tim Locastro, who played right field, struck out in both of his at-bats. Kyle Higashioka fanned once as well. Besides the Donaldson shot, there was nothing to get excited about from the projected starters.
On the prospect side, 21-year-old shortstop Oswald Peraza started the game but struck out and flew out in his two-at bats. Trey Sweeney, another of their big shortstop prospects, was subbed into the game in the sixth inning but didn’t get an at-bat.
On the pitching side of things, Ken Waldichuk started for New York and did well through his first two innings of work, allowing no runs with five of six of his six outs being groundouts. In the third inning, however, doubles by Rylan Bannon and Jacob Nottingham and a Trey Mancini single led to two Orioles runs. He finished with no walks and one strikeout.
Waldichuk was followed by Clay Holmes, who’s hoping to repeat the success he had after being traded to New York last summer over a full season. He started his spring strong, striking out Austin Hays and Chris Owings.
Wellington Diaz entered after Holmes. Diaz is a 24-year-old who threw slightly less than 40 inning for Low-A Tampa in 2021 with an ERA of 5.17 and a BB/9 of 6.3. A walk kickstarted his troubles, as a free pass to Nottingham was followed by singles from Colton Cowser and Ryan Mountcastle to drive in a run.
In the sixth, Jhony Brito came on for the Yankees. The 24-year-old ended the 2021 season in Double-A, where he had a 5.01 ERA. He gave up two walks and a single before being replaced by Edgar Barclay, a 15th-round draft pick from 2019. He struck out one and walked one over 2.1 innings pitched. Zach Greene, a 25-year-old reliever who also finished 2021 in Double-A, at least kept the Yankees from being walked off with a scoreless ninth inning to secure the tie, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Tomorrow, the Yankees are back at it with their spring home opener against the Detroit Tigers, where Luis Severino is slated to start. The game will be broadcast on YES.