Anthony Volpe is really really good at baseball. That’s today’s lede.
The top prospect had two extra-base hits on the day, with one of those an opposite-field dinger. He also played solid defense that showcased his reflexes, making a nice play with a drawn-in infield to prevent a Boston run. Even the NESN+ announce team gushed over Volpe, commenting that he looks like a big league shortstop right now. He may not (probably won’t?) make the Yankees out of camp, but he’s doing everything humanly possible to earn a spot.
Things looked like they’d quickly get a bit sticky in the first inning. New YOrk starter Yoendrys Gómez had no idea where the ball would go once it left his hand. He walked two Red Sox and consistently fell behind in counts. But he came back and whiffed Christian Arroyo and former Yankee Rob Refsnyder, stranding the runners.
The story was the same in the second. After overpowering Bobby Dalbec, Gómez walked Reese McGuire on four pitches and then beaned brief 2021 Yankees outfielder Greg Allen. Again, he buckled down by getting a pair of outs to put up a zero. Pitching into and out of jams is probably not a sustainable long-term strategy, but it’s nice to see the young hurler show the fortitude to get himself out of trouble.
Gómez finally surrendered a base hit in the third, albeit of the wind aided variety. Aaron Hicks had no clue where that ball was coming down in the left-field corner. No harm no foul, though, as Gómez shrugged it off and retired the Sox in order. It was a heck of a start, honestly — especially given how wild he was early on.
For a hot minute, it seemed like the Yankees would take an early lead in the second, after Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled then ran wild on the bases, stealing second and third with only one out. But a strikeout and a ground ball to third base stranded IKF. I guess he should have stolen home, too.
Jake Bauers led off the third for the Yankees with a double. Out in left field, Allen also looked he had no clue where the ball was going to come down. Unfortunately, a rather egregious TOOTBLAN from Bauers, who broke for third on a weak groundball back to the pitcher, took that runner out of scoring position.
And that mistake hurt, because Volpe hammered an opposite-field double that would’ve scored Bauers. Instead, the Yankees had runners on second and third with one out.
Volpe smokes an oppo double of Houck #Yankees #AnthonyVolpe pic.twitter.com/OYDCUUIpUo— Dugout Station (@DugoutStation) March 12, 2023
However, a Hicks strikeout and a Rafael Ortega fly out, sandwiched around an excellent nine-pitch walk by Oswaldo Cabrera, left the bases full. Ortega’s at-bat also featured the Yankees’ first hitter violation of the spring. I’m sure it’ll feel better when it’s the other team’s batter who faces an 0-1 count before ever seeing a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Yankees finally broke through in the fourth. After IKF got plunked and Billy McKinney walked, Andres Chaparro demolished a pitch off the high left field wall. There were no exit velocity readings today, but it was obviously a laser:
On the board thanks to INF Andres Chaparro pic.twitter.com/19PXG6MEG3— NYYPlayerDev (@NYYPlayerDev) March 12, 2023
Chaparro hit it so hard that he had to settle for a single, but IKF scored easily to put New York in front. Bauers followed that with some situational hitting, putting the ball in the air, allowing McKinney to score and knocking Hauck from the game.
Jimmy Cordero relieved Gómez in the fourth inning, as he continues his push for a roster spot. After recording the first out, he walked Reese McGuire and then Allen, the former Yankee, drove a ball out to right center field for an easy triple, cutting the Yankee lead in half.
Volpe saved a run when he flashed the leather on a tough in-between hop with the infield in, keeping Allen at third and getting the second. That was for naught, though, as Allen aggressively broke home on a Cordero pitch that got away from Rodolfo Durán, tying the game at two. Even in the spring, it’s deflating to give up runs right after taking a lead.
Speaking of Volpe, he continues to make it really difficult to justify not having him break camp as a Yankee. Leading off the fifth, he crushed an opposite-field solo shot:
Yes, the wind was blowing out today. But he tattooed that ball. On the other hand, Hicks’ rough day continued that inning. After misplaying the ball in the left field corner earlier, he got himself picked off first base. Even when he gets a base hit, it seems like anything that can go wrong, will.
With the blink of an eye, the lead was was gone, as free agent addition Adam Duvall ambushed a hanger from Cordero, sending it out to left field and tying the game. Arroyo, the next Boston hitter, lofted a single to right that Bauers had trouble reading. To his credit, he quickly recovered and threw behind Arroyo, getting the rare 9-3 putout.
Another bullpen candidate, Albert Abreu, was the third Yankee hurler to enter the game, and he looked pretty solid in his outing. Abreu tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless ball, keeping the game tied. Next man up: Ron Marinaccio. The changeup specialist took over in the seventh, and looked in midseason form, striking out the side in short order.
Jasson Domínguez continued his excellent spring with a leadoff single in the ninth, but after advancing to third, he was stranded there by an inning-ending twin killing. Scoreless frames by rookie Greg Weissert and non-roster invitee Demarcus Evans wrapped this ballgame up in a 3-3 tie.
All in all: a fun game, specifically the Volpe parts. The Yankees are back at it tomorrow, facing Minnesota with first pitch at 1:05 pm ET. Tanner Tully is scheduled to make the start for New York.