Mixed Bag for Yankees as Rodon robust, Stroman rocky in spring debut

Sara Molnick
Monday February 26, 2024

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Marcus Stroman logged his first outing in pinstripes on Sunday, but it came in a losing effort as the Yankees’ split-squad team fell 4-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies. But earlier in the day, a stronger squad anchored by starter Carlos Rodon helped the Yankees rout the Blue Jays 12-6.

Stroman’s performance offered a glimpse of both his potential and areas for improvement. He displayed flashes of sharpness, striking out two batters in 2 ⅓ innings, but also encountered some command issues. Notably, he completed the outing without any reported health concerns, a positive sign considering his injury struggles in the latter part of the previous season.

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ other split-squad team, featuring newly acquired slugger Juan Soto, faced off against the Toronto Blue Jays in a separate game on Sunday afternoon.

Marcus Stroman displayed a mix of promise and areas for improvement during his first outing in pinstripes on Sunday. He opened the game on a positive note, efficiently retiring the side in the first inning with three consecutive pop-outs. However, the second inning presented challenges as he allowed three consecutive baserunners, including two hits, resulting in the first run scored against him. With two outs and runners on, a single prompted his temporary exit from the game.

Stroman returned to the mound for the third inning, recording two outs before being replaced for the remainder of the game. He finished his debut with 2.1 innings pitched, throwing 52 pitches and allowed four hits, three runs (two earned), walked one batter, and struck out two.

Rodon impresses with dominant stretches

New York Yankees left-hander Carlos Rodon made a strong impression in his spring training debut on Sunday, showcasing both his physical transformation and flashes of dominance on the mound.

Rodon, who arrived at camp in noticeably better physical shape, displayed his power early on. He struck out two batters in the first inning, consistently throwing fastballs averaging 94.3 mph, with a top speed of 95.4 mph. He continued his dominance in the second inning, quickly retiring the first two batters and adding another strikeout.

However, Rodon encountered some challenges with his command later in the second inning. He fell behind in counts, issuing two walks and hitting a batter. Despite this, he demonstrated resilience, striking out his fourth batter of the day to escape a bases-loaded jam.

Operating under a predetermined 50-pitch limit, Rodon maintained his strong showing in the third inning. He recorded the first two outs before surrendering a solo home run to Alejandro Kirk, concluding his outing with two outs in the third.

Rodon finished his debut with 2.2 innings pitched, throwing 48 pitches. He allowed one hit, one earned run, walked two batters, and struck out five.

Open bullpen spot creates opportunity for Marinaccio

With Scott Effross sidelined until summer, the New York Yankees have an open spot in their bullpen, creating an opportunity for young right-hander Ron Marinaccio to compete for a roster position on Opening Day.

However, Marinaccio’s performance on Sunday in a spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies fell short of expectations. He pitched 1.1 innings, throwing 25 pitches, and allowed one hit, one earned run, two walks, and struck out one batter.

While this outing may not have been ideal, it’s important to remember that spring training is a time for development and experimentation. Marinaccio will have further opportunities to showcase his abilities throughout the remainder of spring training and solidify his case for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Young Yankees seek playing time in spring training matchup

Several young New York Yankees hopefuls, including Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, Everson Pereira, and Austin Wells, participated in a spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday. While they aim to secure spots on the regular season roster, their performances at the plate fell short of expectations.

Peraza, vying for the starting shortstop role, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and committed two fielding errors, one leading to a run scored against the Yankees. Cabrera, competing for a position in the infield, went 0-for-2 at the plate. Wells, the projected backup catcher, also went hitless with a strikeout in his two at-bats. Similarly, Pereira, a potential outfield option, struck out twice in his two plate appearances.

The Yankees’ offense struggled to get hits until Greg Allen broke the no-hitter with a single to right field in the eighth inning, recording their first hit of the game. Allen also drew a walk and ended the game with a 1-for-2 performance, including a strikeout.

Soto homers in Yankees debut

The New York Yankees witnessed contrasting outcomes in their split-squad games on Sunday, with one team celebrating victory while the other fell short.

Newly acquired slugger Juan Soto marked his first spring training appearance for the Yankees in memorable fashion, launching a home run and contributing to a 12-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at home. This display of power reinforces the high expectations surrounding Soto’s arrival in pinstripes.

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ other split-squad team, playing away against the Philadelphia Phillies, encountered a different fate. Despite valiant efforts, they ultimately fell short, suffering a defeat during the same timeframe.

These spring training games provide valuable opportunities for players across the organization to showcase their skills and refine their performance as they prepare for the upcoming season. While the results may not directly translate to regular season success, they offer insights into player development and team chemistry.

Yankees showcase potential Opening Day outfield

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone unveiled the team’s projected Opening Day outfield for the first time this spring training on Sunday, deploying Alex Verdugo in left field, Aaron Judge in center field, and newcomer Juan Soto in right field.

This marked the first official look at the anticipated starting outfield trio, with DJ LeMahieu absent from the split-squad game. As a result, Verdugo filled the leadoff spot, followed by Soto batting second and Judge batting third.

The new batting order yielded immediate results, with Verdugo leading off the game with a double down the first-base line. Soto’s subsequent groundout advanced Verdugo to third, where he was driven home by Judge’s first-pitch single, giving the Yankees a quick 1-0 lead.

In the third inning, Soto drew a walk, followed by Judge’s double, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Soto eventually scored on a groundout, showcasing the potential of the Soto-Judge combination in the batting order.

Verdugo finished the game 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored, while Judge went 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored.

Judge commented after the game that it was the first day and he didn’t want to jump too far ahead. He noted that everyone in the lineup was pretty excited. He also mentioned the absence of LeMahieu and Anthony Volpe among the regulars, adding that they all felt like little kids again.

Soto Shines in Yankees Debut with Timely Hitting


New York Yankees newcomer Juan Soto marked his spring training debut with a performance that lived up to his All-Star reputation on Sunday.

While his first plate appearance resulted in a groundout that advanced a runner, Soto demonstrated his ability to impact the game immediately. He drew a walk to lead off an inning later, eventually scoring a run.

The defining moment of Soto’s debut arrived in the fourth inning. Facing a 91 mph fastball, he displayed his signature power by launching the ball over the left-center field wall with two runners on base. This timely home run extended the Yankees’ lead to a comfortable 7-1 advantage.

Soto concluded his first game in pinstripes with a 1-for-2 performance, including a walk and a crucial three-run home run. While spring training results shouldn’t be overemphasized, Soto’s debut offered a glimpse of his potential impact on the Yankees’ lineup.

Yankees See Offensive Outbursts from Veterans and Prospects

The New York Yankees secured a 12-6 victory in a spring training game on Sunday, with several players contributing notable performances.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo, returning from post-concussion symptoms that impacted him last season, wasted no time making his presence felt. He started the game strong, launching a double in the first inning, showcasing his continued offensive prowess.

Yankees’ top prospect Spencer Jones continued his impressive spring training showing with a late-game appearance. He connected for a single in his first at-bat, adding to his already impressive performance from the previous day where he recorded three hits, including a massive 474-foot home run. Jones further displayed his hustle and plate discipline by beating out a weak grounder for another single in his second at-bat and drawing a walk in his third, finishing the game with a perfect 5-for-5 record across his last two appearances.

Other Yankees contributed to the offensive surge throughout the game. Catcher Luis Torrens launched his second home run in as many spring training games, while 18-year-old first-round pick George Lombard Jr. added a two-run homer in the eighth inning, extending the Yankees’ lead.

While spring training results shouldn’t be over-interpreted, these performances provide encouraging signs for the Yankees as they prepare for the upcoming season. Both established veterans like Rizzo and exciting young prospects like Jones and Lombard have shown glimpses of their potential to contribute to the team’s success.

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