Yankees 10-14 Rays: Key takeaways

The New York Yankees lineup at the spring training game Feb 04, 2023.

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The Yankees outfielders smacked four home runs on Saturday at Steinbrenner Field, but they were outslugged 14-10 by the Tampa Bay Rays. Anthony Volpe once again stood out with 1-for-4 with a double and a 100-mph lineout in his fourth at-bat to push his case for the shortstop at Yankees camp.

With a long double, Anthony Volpe kept up his good hitting. The 21-year-old went 1-for-4 on Saturday, but the Rays’ third baseman made a great play to keep him from getting a hit with the bases full in his last at-bat. Volpe is currently 5-for-15 (.333) and has hit a home run, two doubles, and stolen two bases. The Yankees’ No. 1 overall prospect keeps making a case to be on the team for Opening Day as the team looks for a regular shortstop. As the second baseman, Oswald Peraza was also in the lineup for Saturday’s game. He didn’t get a hit, so he’s now 0-for-3 and 2-for-9 (.222) with no extra-base hits so far.

The fight for the Yankees shortstop is still going on, and the current player, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, is still in it. He is 1-for-6 this spring. Manager Aaron Boone told the YES Network during a break in the game that there is no deadline or set time for deciding who will play in the important sixth hole.

The Yankees manager said earlier this spring that the shortstop position would not be determined just on who performs best in Grapefruit League action. Nonetheless, Boone has praised the intangibles of MLB’s No. 5 prospect.

“He’s strong,” Boone said on Thursday. “Great lower half, stays in the ground really well. You see him sit down in his legs, and he doesn’t get cheated. You can see him drive the ball out the other way. He’s not tall, but he’s thick and pretty stout…”

“I’ve got high expectations, and he’s come in and gotten after it,” Boone said. “It’s in line with the reputation he’s earned in our organization. He works hard.”

The Yankees left field

Saturday afternoon, the Yankees’ left-field rivals arrived. Home runs were hit by Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera, Rafael Ortega, and Willie Calhoun against the Rays.

After a rough 2022 season, Hicks was glad to perform at Steinbrenner Field with his solo homer. He’s 3-for-10 with a.900 OPS this spring and wants to make sure his name is called when the Opening Day lineup is announced.

Oswaldo Cabrera, an outfielder who can also play infield, hit his first home run of the spring with a three-run shot in the Yankees third inning. During the YES broadcast, Boone said that in an upcoming spring game, Cabrera will play center field. On Saturday, he started in the right field and went 1-for-3.

This winter, the team signed Willie Calhoun to a minor league contract. In the third inning, he hit a solo home run. In the sixth, he hit a single that drove in a run, giving him a 2-for-3 day. Calhoun has had a great spring. He is 6-for-11 with a home run, a .615 OBP, and a 1.524 OPS. Calhoun has played both the outfield and the DH in the major leagues.

Rafael Ortega, who started in left field and signed a minor league contract, joined the home run derby with a two-run homer in the fourth inning that put the Yankees ahead 7-5. Ortega has also hit well this spring. He is 3-for-8 with two home runs, five runs batted in, and a crazy OPS of 1.875.

Severino slowly inches forward

Luis Severino made his second spring start, and the results were a little bit better than his first, when he gave up four runs in two innings. Severino has given up “two home runs, three earned runs, a walk, and six strikeouts in 2.2 innings.” Aaron Boone, the Yankees manager, said on YES during the game that he thought the wind helped some of those home runs.

During his 2.1 innings of work, in which he threw 49 pitches, the 29-year-old gave up two hits and three runs while striking out six batters. The radar gun showed that the Yankees pitcher reached 98 mph, which is good news as he gets ready for a regular season in his second full year after Tommy John surgery.

Severino has given up 7 earned runs, 3 home runs, and 7 strikeouts in his two starts.

Oswald Peraza started the game at second, but he went 0-for-3 on Saturday. So far, he has only hit .222 (2-for-9) and stolen a base. Jasson Dominguez got a few at-bats after coming off the bench. In his first, he hit a single into left field. In his second, he flew out. He also hit a single in the ninth inning, giving him a 2-for-3 day with a run scored. So far this spring, the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect is 4-for-10 and has a home run.

The Yankees will visit CoolToday Park in North Port, Florida, to play the Braves on Sunday.

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