Baseball is back! Kind of. It doesn't count for anything and the players only hang around for three innings or so at this point, but the Yankees played baseball today. They also won! How exciting. In case you missed it because you had more important things to do than watch a baseball game that doesn't count, here is what went on today at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.
1. An early hole
Luis Severino was great in his first inning of work. The wheels started to fall off when he was forced to pitch out of the stretch in the second inning before he ultimately allowed a grand slam to Bryan Holaday. It's early and this probably doesn't matter, but Joe Girardi would probably tell you it's still not what you want. Severino chalked up the struggles to not finishing his pitches and leaving everything up once he was in the stretch. Fortunately, spring is the time to identify those problems and work out any and all kinks.
2. Starlin Castro already better than Stephen Drew
Yes, that's not a huge accomplishment. However, one of the newest Yankees made himself right at home with a big day in his first game in pinstripes. Showing off what he can do with the glove, Castro ranged far to his right past the second base bag to nab a grounder that was deflected off the glove of Tyler Cloyd. Castro set and threw to get Mike Aviles at first. It was amazing.
3. Jorge Mateo is so, so fast
There has been a lot of praise heaped onto Mateo's speed. He's been called an 80-grade runner, which is the definition of as good as it gets. He showed off that speed today when the Yankees were faced with a late game deficit. He drilled a ball to left field that looked like it had a chance to leave the park, and was likely only kept in by the wind. It's unclear whether Mateo thought it might be caught or might be gone, but he didn't bust it out of the box. Honestly, he didn't need to. Once he saw that the ball was still in play he turned on the jets and had himself a pretty easy triple. That's some kind of speed.
4. Call it a comeback
The Yankees climbed their way out of a deep hole against the Tigers bullpen, but a late home run given up by Nick Goody almost made their efforts for nothing. Mateo's triple got things started and the Yankees walked off when Tyler Wade scored from first with two outs on an error by Justin Krizan. Dustin Fowler lifted a ball to the outfield that looked like it would be easily caught, but Krizan lost it in the sun and it fell in. Wade was off with the pitch with two outs and he showed off his speed as he came around to score. The result was a good one considering how things looked in the early innings.
5. Back at it tomorrow
There will be more baseball tomorrow! That really is the best thing about baseball as opposed to pretty much every other sport. Ivan Nova gets the start against the Phillies at Steinbrenner Field. Alex Rodriguez is expected to make his spring debut tomorrow afternoon. One Yankee who won't be playing is Brett Gardner, who is still feeling the effects of the bone bruise in his wrist. He won't play until after the Yankees' off-day on March 13th.