Intersquad Game and Catching up with Kontos
Zach McAllister tossed 5.2 scoreless innings in Tuesday’s intersquad game
Was looking forward to seeing the mighty Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs this afternoon in Tampa taking on the SWB Yankees but for the second consecutive day, there was no Yankees vs. Iron Pigs match up. Rain on Tuesday was not the issue, it was rain free over night in Tampa and the yard was in great shape. The issue on Tuesday was a lack of players for the Yankees, who were not able to field two full squads to take on the Phillies double and triple-A teams.
As I have talked about before the minor league exhibition games are pretty loose when it comes to the standard rules. There have been games in spring training this season when teams have used lineups of 10 players and in a game at Pirate City, the top of the first inning lasted five outs. Thanks to some unusual scheduling the final week of spring the big club has a split squad game scheduled today. One squad taking on Atlanta at Champion Stadium in Kissimmee and the other playing at Steinbrenner Field against Toronto. To fill up the rosters for two squads the Yankees “called up” 22 players from minor league camp and sent some to Kissimmee and kept the rest for the game in Tampa.
For the second straight day I got to the complex (Monday in Clearwater – Tuesday in Tampa) and had that sinking feeling in my stomach when I did not see any busses or players on the field. I at least realized I was going to see some baseball when I saw Butch Wynegar in his “home” at the complex, in the batting cage work on hitting with minor league outfielder Edwar Gonzalez.
So for the third day in a row it was Double-A vs. Triple-A as the Trenton Thunder and the SWB Yankees matched up with the Yankees picking up a 4-0 win. Zach McAllister got the start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and looked good holding the Thunder to five hits and no runs over 5.2 innings with 4K’s and 1BB. Gonzalez picked up an RBI single and both Garrison Lassiter and Jesus Montero both hit solo homers in the win. Montero’s shot was a blast deep over the left field wall off LHP Wilkin De La Rosa who is currently on the Yankees 40 man roster. McAlister picked up the win and got relief help from both Mark Melancon and Grant Duff.
SWB will be in Pirate City on Wednesday for a 1PM game against the Indianapolis Indians.
Kontos Itching to Head North
I had an extensive conversation on Tuesday with RHP George Kontos, who is continuing his rehab from Tommy John surgery last July. Kontos made nine starts for the Yankees last season before injuring his arm and getting placed on the DL. The right hander has begun throwing off a regular mound and says he is about six weeks away from being ready to go. “I feel as good as I have in a long time”, said Kontos. “Right now I would say I am about 65-70%. I just started throwing off the big mound last week and everything feels great.”
Instead of spending the off season rehabbing in Tampa to recover from the surgery, Kontos headed back home to suburban Chicago to complete his rehab there and to complete his degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. “Most guys that I talked to said the toughest part of it (the surgery) was the isolation they felt during the rehab,” said Kontos. “It was great being able to be back home, the time flew by. It feels like I just had the surgery last week and I’m getting set to starting pitching again. I got to complete my degree and graduate from college and now I am looking forward to June when I am able to throw in a game again.”
While there is no plan for Kontos set in stone, the right hander is making his plans to be back in Scranton soon. “From what they (the Yankees) have told me is that I’ll go across the street (Tampa Yankees) and get some innings built up and then they’ll send me back to Scranton,” Kontos said. “I felt like I was in a good position to open some eyes last year and then this happened. I can’t wait to get back out there.”