At long last, we’ve reached the end of spring training. It might have been a shortened camp due to the owners’ lockout, but as always, the last week of the exhibition season still slogged along as anticipation built for Opening Day. Only a few roster spots remained in doubt, and with the questions seemingly answered before this last game even began, there was only one real objective today: stay healthy.
The Yankees might have lost to the Tigers on Tuesday afternoon, but they accomplished their goal. So because the detailed proceedings of the game were essentially a formality, we’ll go with bullet points for the last recap.
- Manny Bañuelos didn’t make the team, but he got the last start of spring. Detroit manager A.J. Hinch used a legitimate lineup against him, and the 31-year-old got touched up a bit. In 3.1 innings, he allowed three runs, a walk, a hit by pitch, and six hits, including a 413-foot, three-run blast by future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera in the fourth. It’s probably not the way that the lefty wanted to conclude his spring, but then again, he may have just been using the exhibition to tinker with his slider. Any future case that Bañuelos might make for a promotion will be conducted more legitimately during the Triple-A season anyway.
- On the bright side in the pitching department, recently-acquired reliever Miguel Castro got to make his first impression on the mound for the Yankees. He looked sharp, striking out Tucker Barnhart and Robbie Grossman in a perfect fifth.
- Soon-to-debut reliever Ron Marinaccio followed Castro in the pitching order, and he acquitted himself well. Although Cabrera knocked a single against him, Marinaccio retired three brand-name hitters in Javier Báez, Jeimer Candelario, and Jonathan Schoop. The latter two players went down on strikes. Good to see!
- Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Marwin Gonzalez, and Gleyber Torres each registered a single apiece in their final spring tune-ups. Aaron Hicks registered a sacrifice fly, and Joey Gallo led the way with two hits and an outfield assist, nailing Candelario at second base on a hustle double attempt when Torres smartly cut off the throw and pitched to LeMahieu at second to get the out.
- Gonzalez made an error in his third appearance of the spring at shortstop, dropping a 103.4-mph line drive with two outs in the seventh. The next batter, Akil Baddoo, belted a two-run homer to make it 5-1, Tigers. It was probably just an out-of-character muff, but worth noting since the onus could be on Gonzalez to back Isiah Kiner-Falefa up at shortstop rather than the shaky Torres.
- The Yankees answered by scoring a pair of runs in the eighth off Rony García after prospects Alex Guerrero and Alexander Vargas reached to start the frame. Guerrero scored on a Gonzalez RBI single, and Vargas crossed home on a grounder from Raimfer Salinas. Another mini-rally went for naught in the ninth, and that was the ballgame.
That will do it for the spring slate. We’ll have more season preview material on the site over the next couple days, but either way, stay tuned for Yankees Opening Day! Weather-permitting, it will be on Thursday at 1:05pm with Gerrit Cole toeing the Yankee Stadium rubber against Nathan Eovaldi and the Red Sox.
(Update: Welp. Make it Friday then.)