Gary Sánchez hit a line drive home run off ex-Yankees RHP Arodys Vizcaíno, but it was not enough to push the Yankees to victory over the Atlanta Braves Friday in Kissimmee.
Sánchez’s second dinger of the spring came in the sixth inning, as the Yankee backstop managed to tie the game with one swing. It was his second hit of the game after he led off the fourth inning with a single to center field.
The seventh inning doomed the Yankees to defeat. Preston Tucker singled against David Hale, then Charlie Culberson singled to move Tucker to second base. Next, Carlos Franco doubled to right field, where Billy McKinney had an adventure fielding the ball. McKinney ended up committing a fielding and throwing error on the play, allowing two runs to score.
Those runs ended up making the decisive difference in the game. Only one of those runs was charged to Hale as earned.
- Greg Bird really struggled tonight. He struck out three times in four at-bats, leaving seven men on-base. His Spring Training average dropped below .100 after this game. Spring stats obviously mean very little, but it would be important for the Yankees to get Bird going. “I think he is a middle-of-the-order hitter on a championship team. When we see him healthy and at his best, he will be a guy who will be a real option to hit in the middle of our order,’’ Aaron Boone said to George A. King III in late February.
- Other than Aaron Hicks‘ bloop single, Gary Sánchez provided the Yankee offense tonight with his solo home run and single. “Gary, for me, he’s one of the most gifted hitters I’ve played with, and I’ve played with some pretty decent ones, as you know,” said Brett Gardner to Coley Harvey, who now covers the Yankees for ESPN. Sánchez just renewed his contract for $620,400 in 2018 since he is still a pre-arbitration player.
- Sonny Gray was fantastic on the mound in his 3⅔ innings of work. He struck out three, walked one and only allowed one hit.
- Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Holder each contributed one scoreless inning of work tonight. Each pitcher struck out two batters. Both are looking to make the Opening Day roster in the front end of the bullpen.
- The Yankees were bested tonight by a product of their own organization. Anyelo Gómez, who was credited with the win, was selected by the Braves out of the Yankees organization in the Rule 5 draft. Roster Resource projects him to stick with the Braves in the front end of their bullpen. If he does not, the Braves must return him to the Yankees.
The Yankees welcome the Mets into Steinbrenner Field for another Subway Series preview game. The Yankees won the first edition in Port St. Lucie, and send Luis Cessa to the mound Saturday against Matt Harvey. Cessa had been scheduled to start March 7 at the Mets, but had been scratched for Domingo Germán because of a stiff neck.