Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Yanks Start Spring Off On The Right Note
The last time a Yankee led off Spring Training with a home run was in 2007 when Johnny Damon crushed the first pitch over the fence. It was only two springs ago, but it was the beginning of a season that saw the Yankees struggle in the beginning but unite for a second half run that landed them in the playoffs.
Hopefully Brett Gardner's leadoff dinger is a sign that the Yankees are off to the proper start (we'll hope that they start the 2009 season hot instead of cold, which was how they started in 2007).
Gardner's blast was more than unexpected, considering that he only reached the warning track in 127 at-bats in 2008. While this came as a pleasant surprise, the rest of the Yankees were just as satisfying.
After being booed every time his name was announced, Alex Rodriguez sent a shot over the center field fence in his second at-bat of the game. It's great to see A-Rod able to focus on hitting while the fans heckle him. A-Rod jokingly said that he enjoyed the fans so much that he'd "invite them to Fenway."
Robinson Cano's offseason workouts seem to have gotten him back in shape. The fifth year (wow, already?) second baseman lived up to the hype and doubled in one of his two at-bats.
Eighteen Yankees went up to the plate today and ten recorded hits. Ex-Red Sox Kevin Cash was the only Yank with two hits (suck on that, Boston).
Good news, Yankee fans: Eighteen year old Jesus Montero, who is the Bombers' most prized prospect, went 1-for-2.
Another touted prospect, Austin Jackson, doubled in one of his two plate appearances.
Oh, and how about those big offseason signings? Neither CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, nor Mark Teixeira entered the game today.
Even without Sabathia and Burnett, the Yankees' pitching was stellar, allowing only one run on four hits and three walks. Veteran Brett Tomko got the start and went two innings. Jose Veras, who is trying to earn the setup role, surrendered the sole run of the game but got the win, nonetheless.
Dan Geise and Kei Igawa each tossed scoreless innings.
Sure, it's only the first game of Spring Training, but I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.
The Yanks host the defending American League champs tomorrow.
Photo courtesy of ESPN.com