Schmidt’s electric cutter, Volpe dominate Day 2 of Yankees spring training

Clarke Schimdt and Anthony Volpe are playing for the Yankees spring training squads on Feb 26, 2023.
Sara Molnick
Monday February 27, 2023

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The New York Yankees emerged stronger on the Day 2 of their 2023 spring training with their split squads notching up wins against the Braves and the Jays. While Anthony Volpe justified the hype around him, Clarke Schmidt was successful with his new pitch.

The Bombers started the season by beating the Braves 7-0 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. On Sunday, the other half of the Yankees squad went to Dunedin, Florida, and beat the Blue Jays 9-5. On the second day of the Yankees’ spring training, their new captain, Aaron Judge, played his first game, and the competition for different positions heated up.

Some of the Yankees‘ veterans showed signs of rust, while the young players who wanted to make the team and earn their pinstripes worked hard. But their young shortstops really stood out. Anthony Volpe started for the Yankees against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, while Oswald Peraza stayed in Tampa for the team’s home spring opener.

If Volpe’s first game is any indication, the Yankees will have a hard time sending him to the minors. The 21-year-old showed off all of his skills by going 2 for 4 with a double and stealing two bases, both in the top of the fourth.

Peraza also had a good afternoon. The Yankees’ No. 3 prospect went 1 for 2 with a walk and made all the normal plays at shortstop to keep up with his competition. Isiah Kiner-Falefa played well in his first spring game against the Phillies on Saturday. He went 1 for 3 with a double.

Clark Schmidt puts his claim to become Yankees’ no. 5

The Yankees’ 7-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday could not have been a better start for Clarke Schmidt. The 27-year-old pitcher threw two scoreless innings and got five of the six batters he faced to strike out. There was talk about about the right-handed pitcher adding a new cutter, which he showed off on Sunday and strengthened his case to be in the Yankees starting rotation.

The RHP started the Yankees split-squad afternoon game in Tampa with two innings of dominance that backed up what Aaron Judge has seen since getting to camp.

“It’s just electric,” Aaron Judge told about Clark Schmidt to YES Network. “Besides the way he moves and the control he has over all of his pitches, he’s like a bulldog on the mound. He goes after the batters. Even when he’s down in the count or has two strikes, he still goes after guys, and that’s who you want to play by. Especially with this pitch clock now, he gets it moving and he has that type of presence. So, looking forward to seeing him out there.”

Clark Schmidt threw 31 pitches with 20 strikes out. He struck out five batters in two perfect innings. Marcell Ozuna was the only Brave who didn’t go down on strikes. He hit a 6-3 groundout to end the top of the first inning.

“My main focus, going into it, was, ‘Throw a lot of strikes, fill up the zone,'” Schmidt later spoke to YES Network. “My breaking balls felt really good. I was spinning it well.

“I think the cutter’s going to be a big pitch for me this year. … When I’m out there if I get behind in the count — especially to lefties — I feel a lot more comfortable that I don’t have to dot a pitch here and there. I can throw this over the heart of the plate and get some swing and miss.”

Schmidt, who just turned 27 on Monday, had to spend most of the 2022 season with the Yankees without much success. Schmidt was 5-5 in 29 games (three starts), with a 3.12 ERA. He struck out 56 batters and walked 23. Schmidt gave up 46 hits, including five home runs. He also hit two batters and got two saves.

“That’s been motivating me this whole time is like — I want to come out here and I want to fight for a rotation spot, and whatever happens happens,” Schmidt said. “And if they want me back in that kind of swingman bullpen role again, then that’s the case. But for me, I’m coming out here, I’m trying to compete and hopefully win a job.”

Schmidt and Domingo German will compete to be the Yankees’ fifth starter to replace injured Frankie Montas in the rotation.

On Sunday, Jose Trevino led the way by hitting a grand slam in the first inning to start his spring. However, the Boo Birds did go south for the winter, and Hicks saw them when he first came out in the spring. The 33-year-old went 1-3 with a strikeout as he started his journey to win over Yankee fans and left field.

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