TAMPA – It was the best possible way for Troy Tulowitzki to make his first Yankees appearance: in his pinstriped No. 12 jersey, playing against the team that chose to pay him $19.45 million to play for any team but their’s.
Just two pitches into his Yankees tenure, Tulowitzki showed some of the spark that the Bombers hope he can maintain through most of the 2019 season. He poked a 93-mph Marcus Stroman fastball out just over the right-field wall to give the Yankees an immediate lead.
“There were a lot of people that said, ‘Forget about it.’ Those people said I would never make it back on a baseball field again. For me, it was extra emotion. It was the biggest Spring Training homer I ever hit. Yeah, I got a little pumped out there. Anybody who tells you, ‘You are done,’ you are going to have a little extra fire.”Troy Tulowitzki, via Bryan Hoch | MLB.com
Kyle Higashioka joined Tulowitzki in the homer party in the following frame, tagging Stroman with a shot to just left of dead-center field. The Yankees got their final run in the sixth inning with all the regulars out. Ryan McBroom and Zack Zehner singled, then each moved up on a ground-out. Jorge Saez followed with a chopper to third base that allowed McBroom to score.
Another huge story was the debut of James Paxton. The big offseason acquisition admitted he was “jumpy” and that led to a first inning that included two walks.
“My goal was to throw a lot of strikes and I didn’t do that in the first inning. I wanted to come out and pound the strike zone and I did a better job of that in the second inning. You want to feel where your body is at, and I feel I made the adjustment from the first to the second inning.”James Paxton, via George A. King III | New York Post
Domingo Germán allowed a single to Teoscar Hernandez in the fourth inning and that wound up being the only Blue Jays hit. After Germán’s two scoreless innings, the Yanks got two scoreless from Luis Cessa, and one apiece from Chad Green, Phillip Diehl and Jonathan Holder.
- Miguel Andújar was originally listed in today’s lineup but was scratched in favor of Ángel Aguilar. Michael Kay reported during the YES Network broadcast that Aaron Boone indicated the 23-year-old had flu-like symptoms. Andújar is not expected to miss any serious time.
- Brett Gardner was also supposed to play but is dealing with an ingrown toenail. He’s expected to play Tuesday against Philadelphia.
- The Yankees are aiming for a March 1 Grapefruit League debut for Gary Sánchez, per Boone via George A. King III. Boone said Sánchez is “ready to go”. Sánchez, of course, had a debridement operation on his left shoulder this offseason.