- Jesus Montero made his AAA debut, catching and batting sixth. He doubled in his first at bat, then went 0 for 2 the rest of the way. Scranton beat Buffalo, the Mets' affiliate, 1-0 behind a David Winfree home run and a combined shutout from Ivan Nova, Mark Melancon, Boone Logan, and Jonathan Albaladejo. For Opening Night at least, the infield was Kevin Russo, Eduardo Nunez, Reegie Corona, and Juan Miranda from third to first. Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, and Winfree were the outfielders with Jon Weber DHing. Here's the full Scranton roster at present, courtesy of Pending Pinstripes.
- Recently acquired Chad Huffman was not in Scranton's line up last night, presumably because he hadn't arrived yet. Padres' assistant GM and Moneyball superstar Paul DePodesta had some comments on Huffman yesterday, and Rob Neyer extrapolated on them.
- Back to Montero, RAB's Mike Axisa, in his other gig over at MLBTradeRumors, took a look at Montero's status as a blocked prospect.
- Elsewhere in Scranton, Kei Igawa is heading to the bullpen. While Bronx Baseball Daily's Chris Barrows is in favor of the move, I don't like it. Igawa would be no better than the club's third best option for a lefty reliever, behind Boone Logan and Royce Ring. Behind them at AA are southpaws Wilkins Arias and Wilkin De La Rosa. Igawa is of even less value to the Yankees as a reliever. He's proven to be a successful starter at the AAA level, but a disaster in the Bronx. By no means should he be in the Scranton rotation ahead of more viable prospects, but if nothing else he can serve as an innings eater there. If he's of no value doing that, it's high time the Yankees flip him to a lesser club that has some use for him. He's not going to hack it in the Bronx; his posting fee and contract are sunk costs; the club might as well take a flier on a C-level prospect in exchange for him.
- Ivan Nova left his start last night after only four innings, but don't fret, he was pulled after a rain delay. Trenton wasn't quite so lucky with their starter, as their 4-o victory was marred by a sixth inning elbow injury to starter Christian Garcia. It's just the latest in long line of injuries for Garcia, and unfortunately the early returns are that it's pretty serious. Garcia has always had great stuff, prompting this glowing review from former scout Frankie Piliere earlier this spring. But since being drafted in 2004 Garcia has topped 65 IP just once - in 2005 - missed all of 2007, and threw just 25 innings last year. He's on the Yankees 40 man roster and since he was injured in minor league play, he cannot be transferred to the 60 day DL to clear a roster spot. If he is indeed out for the year the Yankees would either have to recall him and DL him, or DFA him to clear the spot.
- Prospects Austin Romine, David Adams, Brandon Laird, and Damon Sublett all made their AA debuts last night. Romine and Adams had a base hit apiece, Laird had two, and Sublett took the collar. Reid Gorecki, the odd man out in Scranton's outfield crunch, is also on the Trenton roster after seeing action in 31 Major League games for the Braves last year.
- High A Tampa also won via shutout, taking a 4-0 victory over Lakeland. Hector Noesi, added to the 40 man roster in the off season, went six strong innings, allowing two hits, a walk, and fanning six. He's the most likely candidate to take Garcia's spot in Trenton.
- Charleston was the only affiliate to allow a run last night, beating Lexington 5-2. Charleston's roster is comprised mostly of last year's draft picks who played at short-season Staten Island last summer. Slade Heathcott is not amongst them at present, as he'll begin the season in Extended Spring Training.
The Middle Relief Duo [2017 Season Preview]
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