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Yankees 8, Rays 4: Clarke Schmidt solid in final spring start

Schmidt struck out seven in his last tuneup ahead of the regular season.

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached the point of the spring where it’s hard not to just entirely focus on Opening Day later this week. As every day goes by, we get more news on who has or hasn’t made the Yankees’ roster. On Sunday, the news was exciting, with the announcement that top prospect Anthony Volpe was going to be part of the big league roster.

However, we still have a little more spring ball left to go, and Monday afternoon’s game featured Volpe himself. The shortstop went 0-for-2 with a walk, as others had some bigger standout games as the Yankees beat the Rays 8-4.

The Yankees got on the board first, recording a couple runs in the fourth inning. Josh Donaldson started things off with a double on a ball that was well hit, but got some help by a pair of Rays’ fielders most not managing to make the play. Oswaldo Cabrera followed him with a double of his own, opening the scoring. Aaron Hicks then plated Cabrera with a single.

Starting on the mound for the Yankees was Clarke Schmidt. He mostly cruised through the first couple innings before running into some trouble in the fifth. He opened up the inning by walking Jose Siri, who then stole second. A double from Mason Auer and a single from Cooper Kinney would each plate a run, evening up the score. Schmidt was pulled after the Kinney single, as Wandy Peralta came in and cleaned things up.

Schmidt finished his day with two runs allowed on three hits and a walk in 4.1 innings. He struck out seven, and mostly looked pretty good until the fifth. He wasn’t the sharpest on defense though, committing an error as he attempted to cover first on a grounder. Considering that thanks to injuries, he’s going to be vaulted into a rotation role to start the season, there were some solid signs from Schmidt in this game.

Jonathan Loáisiga would come in for the Yankees in the sixth and got two outs before giving up a single to Taylor Walls. Clay Holmes then replaced him and picked off Walls to end the inning.

In the sixth, the Yankees retook the lead thanks to a homer that might’ve helped out his Opening Day roster case. Rafael Ortega, who is in the running for one of the final spots, crushed a 399-foot shot that put the Yankees back in front.

Ron Marinaccio got the seventh inning after a Siri double and a Daniel Robertson walk, both coming with nobody out. However, he did an impressive job of getting out of the jam, striking out the next three hitters to end the inning.

The backups added another couple runs for the Yankees in the bottom of the seventh. With Willie Calhoun on after getting hit by a pitch, Eric Wagaman hit a fly ball that just cleared the wall in center field, giving the Yankees an addition to their lead.

Tampa Bay got a couple runs off Yankees’ reliever Nick Ramirez in the eighth. With Josh Lowe on base with a double, Christian Bethancourt homered to get the Rays back with in a run.

The Yankees picked up another couple runs for the road in the eighth. The first came when Max Burt doubled home Eduardo Torrealba. After that, a series of Rays’ fielding miscues allowed the Yankees to score runs on RBI singles from Wagaman and Kyle Higashioka.

Indigo Diaz ran into some trouble in the ninth, walking the first two batters of the inning. However, he got the next three batters after that to seal a Yankees’ win, wrapping up the Grapefruit League season at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

With that, we’re down to just one more exhibition game before the ones that count begin. It’ll be in a big league stadium too, as the Yankees face the Nationals in DC at Nationals Park tomorrow at 12:05pm ET. Nestor Cortes will pitch against Trevor Williams.

Box Score