American League All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson will be giving the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) a temporary lift when he joins the team on Thursday to begin a Major League rehab assignment. Granderson and the RailRiders will be hosting the Indianapolis Indians on Thursday evening with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
Granderson was injured in his first at-bat of 2013 when he was hit by a J.A. Happ pitch on Feb. 24 in a spring training game. Granderson suffered a fractured right forearm, and Thursday night’s game will be his first action since the injury. This will be Granderson’s second tour of duty with SWB, as he joined the franchise in 2010 for a rehab assignment, posting a .250 (4-16) average with two RBIs in five games.
The three-time Major League All-Star hit 43 home runs last season, and drove in 106 runs. Both were top on a Yankee club that finished first in the American League East Division with a 95-67 record. In 2011, Granderson connected for 41 home runs, and led the American League with 119 RBIs. He also led the league in runs scored with 136. He finished the 2011 campaign fourth in Most Valuable Player voting, and was named to the American League All-Star team.
For his career, Granderson has hit 211 home runs over nine big league seasons. The 32-year-old has recorded 1,108 hits, 749 runs scored, and 114 stolen bases. He was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the third round in 2002, and was acquired by the Yankees via trade during the 2009 off-season.
The gates at PNC Field will open at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. It’s a Thirsty Thursday presented by Budweiser and will also be Lost Sock Memorial Night at the ballpark. The first 1,000 fans will receive special RailRiders socks. The Indians will send 2011 first-overall-pick Gerrit Cole (2-1, 2.45) to the mound to face Granderson and the RailRiders. SWB is in the midst of an eight-game home stand, which concludes on Monday, May 13 against the Gwinnett Braves.
DAY BASEBALL: The process was not pretty, nor the result. Despite a picturesque day, arguably the best on the young year for the RailRiders, 10 total pitchers and 22 position players were required in a game that took 3 hours and 35 minutes to complete. The final in favored visiting Columbus as the Clippers bested the RailRiders in a back-and-forth affair, 5-4.
SAY WHAT?: The 215 minutes that passed from first pitch to final out made Wednesday’s setback the longest nine-inning game at PNC Field since Aug. 6, 2008. The man who scored the decided run for the Clippers yesterday, Matt Carson, was SWB’s leadoff man and center fielder in that 2008 loss to Pawtucket by an 11-5 score. That game needed just one more minute to finish at 3:36 and saw half of the game’s runs cross in the ninth inning. The RailRiders had played their shortest nine-inning game of the season the night before yesterday’s marathon.
PITCH BY PITCH: Fourteen combined walks did not help the pace of play yesterday. In fact, the teams combined for 371 pitches (COL 191; SWB 180). The man who endured the least labor in the effort was RailRiders’ situational lefty Josh Spence. He faced one hitter and threw two pitches (one strike). He also recorded a pair of outs thanks to a caught stealing and stranded two inherited runners.
LONE LEAD: Dave Miley’s team did not know a lead until David Adams’ two-out, two-strike bases-loaded hit up the middle plated a pair for a 4-2 advantage in the seventh. That hit came against Jerry Gil who allowed two runs on four walks and two hits over one inning. Gil (2-0) got the win.
QUICK RESPONSE: The very next half-inning when the first three reached against Cody Eppley (1-1). The second slugger, Jeremy Hermida, homered to tie the game while later in the frame a pinch-hitting Cord Phelps reached on a run-scoring fielder’s choice that pushed Carson home for the game-winning run.
ROUND-TRIPPING: The RailRiders have allowed a dozen dingers this season. Eleven (92%) of them have come at the traditional home run graveyard that is PNC Field. A Baseball America article this past March tracked the homer rate at each IL facility from 2010-12. Granted SWB played last season on the road, on a per-game basis PNC Field ranked 10th in the 14-team loop over that three-year span. It also tracked as the overall most pitcher-friendly ballpark in the IL and trailed only New Orleans of the PCL in all of Triple-A baseball.
GOIN’ SOLO: Twelve is still the magic number when speaking of how many times the RailRiders have left the yard. While their home/road splits are dead even, eight of the 12 (67%) have been solo shots.
NO SUCH RELIEF: The RailRiders’ bullpen entered yesterday without a run against it in four games and 9.1 innings. On a bullpen day, fill-in starter Ryan Pope surrendered a pair over his season-high 3.1 frames. But Mark Montgomery and Spence had logged 2.2 more shutout frames before Eppley snapped the string in the eighth. Moreover, by blowing the late lead, SWB lost a game it led after seven innings for the first time this season. The team had been 9-0.
SIMPLY THE BEST: Despite making the lone miscue in yesterday’s loss, SWB still boasts the IL’s top team fielding percentage (.981) with a league-low 12 errors in 18 games. Also, by cutting down two would-be base stealers in three tries on Wednesday, the RailRiders pace the circuit in team efficiency at thwarting thieves. Ten of the 21 (.476) men that have shown sticky fingers have been gunned down by Austin Romine (6-14) or Bobby Wilson (4-7).
Bootcheck, Neal Lead RailRiders to 8-1 Win Over Chiefs
Bootcheck Limits Syracuse to One Run and Neal Extends Hitting Streak to Nine Games
Moosic, Pa. – Thomas Neal recorded a pair of doubles and Chris Bootcheck tossed seven solid innings as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) topped the Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals) on Monday night, 8-1. The win brings SWB to the .500 mark for the first time this season at 8-8, and gives them seven triumphs in their last nine contests.
Bootcheck (2-0) pitched seven strong innings, conceding just one run after he already had a 4-0 lead. The veteran right-hander limited the Chiefs to five hits, while walking two and striking out five en route to his second win of the season. Bootcheck’s first run allowed this season raised his ERA to a still-sparkling 0.50.
The RailRiders gave Bootcheck plenty of support, beginning with four runs in the third. Gil Velazquez started the inning with a single, and he moved to second when Corban Joseph followed with a walk. Neal then laced a double to left field, driving home Velazquez and moving Joseph to third. Zoilo Almonte then doubled to deep center, plating both Joseph and Neal. One out later, Austin Romine capped the inning by singling home Almonte. The RailRiders led 4-0 after three.
Syracuse scored its only run in the fifth. With two outs, Micah Owings doubled to right field. After a walk to Carlos Maldonado, Jeff Kobernus singled to right field. Owings was waved around scored, while the throw eventually went to third to catch Maldonado in a rundown. He was tagged out by Joseph to end the inning.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pulled the run back in the bottom of the fifth. Neal led off by being hit by a pitch, and later came around to score on Dan Johnson’s single to left field.
The RailRiders put the game out of reach in the sixth. Melky Mesa led off with a single, and one out later came around to score when Velazquez singled to right. Neal later doubled down the left-field line, driving home Velazquez. The throw home was cut off by the third baseman Carlos Rivero, and his throw trying to get Neal at second went into right field, allowing Neal to score on the play. That run proved to be the final one of the contest.
Syracuse starter Ross Ohlendorf (2-2) was handed the loss after he allowed seven runs on eight hits in five and one-third innings of work. The Chiefs conceded three out of the four games in their series with the RailRiders, and fall to 7-10 on the season.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will now welcome in its second opponent of this eight-game home stand, as the Columbus Clippers come to PNC Field beginning on Tuesday night. It’s a two-for-one Tuesday at the ballpark, meaning buy-one-get-one-free NEPA Honda Homer Zone tickets will be available. First pitch at PNC Field is slated for 6:35 p.m. The RailRiders will look to right-hander Dellin Betances (0-2, 13.50) against Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 5.56).
- SWB RailRiders – All Aboard! -
TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE START: They started 1-6. The pitching struggled mightily. One day it was a starter, the next day the bullpen. The offense could not come through, leaving masses of men on base. That seems like a long time ago. On Wednesday night at Frontier Field, the red-hot Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) dominated the Rochester Red Wings, 7-0. The RailRiders’ fourth straight win was their second straight shutout while the Red Wings’ seventh straight loss lowered the International League’s worst record to 2-11.
LET’S GET SERIESOUS: With last night’s win, the RailRiders secured their first series win of 2013. The team’s prior series victory in a true four-game road set came from Aug. 6-9, 2012, also at Frontier Field against the Red Wings. Through three games in this series, the RailRiders have outscored the Red Wings, 18-1.
SUPER START: Graham Stoneburner (1-1), known for his sinking fastball, recorded 10 groundball outs against five in the air for his first Triple-A triumph. The 25-year-old won as a starter for the first time since an April 15, 2011 victory with Double-A Trenton versus Harrisburg.
PITCHING PROWESS: SWB pitching has not allowed a run in 20 consecutive innings. On Wednesday, Stoneburner and Sam Demel combined to retire 11 straight batters from the end of the fourth inning until Ray Olmedo singled with one out in the eighth.
HEATING UP: David Adams went 3-for-4 with a walk and scored twice. After starting the season 2-for-12 (.167), the third baseman has gone 7-for-15 (.467) to lift his season-long contact clip to .333.
HELLO MR. WILSON: Catcher Bobby Wilson has caught each of the team’s consecutive shutouts. He also recorded four RBIs in a game for the second time on the road trip. With Wilson behind the plate, the RailRiders have posted a 1.91 ERA. The team is 3-1 when he is the starting catcher. Wilson shares the team lead in RBIs (9) despite playing in just five games (four starts) and a .125 batting average (2-for-16).
TIME TO MAKE THE DONUTS: SWB notched its first back-to-back shutouts in nine-inning games since blanking the IronPigs at Lehigh Valley from April 20-21, 2011. The then-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees led the IL that season with 13 shutouts, but failed to qualify for the playoffs.
BROOMS READY: Tonight, SWB seeks its first sweep of a four-game set since a June 26-29, 2012 series against Gwinnett. It hasn’t turned the trick in a road four-game series at Rochester since July 4-7, 2010.
SCORING SURGE: In starting the season 1-6, the RailRiders scored a total of 18 runs (2.6/g). During their bounce-back four-game win streak, they have crossed the plate 30 times (7.5/g).
OFF THE RAILS: Zoilo Almonte earned his league-leading 13th walk in addition to his RBI double…Twenty of Rochester’s 22 hits on the series have been singles…The Red Wings went 0-for-4 with men in scoring position on Wednesday…They have gone 1-for-29 (.034) with men in prime real estate on the series… The RailRiders put their leadoff man on base five times in the game…Four times that man came around to score…In addition to guaranteeing a series victory, the RailRiders also secured a winning road trip.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The RailRiders did not know a deficit on their series with Rochester until the latest of stages last night. In the middle match of their three-game set, the visiting Red Wings grabbed their first lead in the ninth when reigning IL Player of the Week Chris Colabello homered off of Mark Montgomery (0-1). His third homer of the year proved the difference in a 2-1 SWB loss.
SEVENTH HEAVEN: SWB starter Vidal Nuno sizzled in his second start of the year. The lefty tossed a career-high-tying seven frames and yielded just one run on three hits while walking none and whiffing six. But the single score came on a long ball as well in the form of Brandon Boggs’ second of the season. Opponents have gone just 6-for-42 (.143) against Nuno, but five of those hits have gone for extra bases including two homers. Fellow southpaws are 1-for-14 against the RailRiders’ Opening Day man.
THAT’S A START: RailRiders’ starters entered the series with a 6.06 ERA and seven walks over 16.1 innings. Chris Bootcheck, making his first minor league start since June 30, 2011, bucked that trend considerably on Monday. Featuring a strong breaking ball, the tall right-hander scattered five hits over five scoreless frames and did not yield a single walk while whiffing four. After Nuno’s effort on Tuesday, SWB’s starters have allowed just one run and no walks over 12.0 innings on the series for a 0.75 ERA.
NO SUCH RELIEF: Through six games, the now 1-5 RailRiders have been outhomered 7-1 with five of the round-trippers coming against relievers in 26.2 innings. All of the homers the relief corps has surrendered have come in the eighth inning or later. While the starting staff boasts a 3.81 ERA, the relievers have combined to post a gaudy 7.09 mark.
STRUGGLING SLUGGING: Extra-base hits continue to elude SWB. Addison Maruszak‘s seventh-inning double was the lone such hit last night. Through six games, just seven of the RailRiders’ 41 hits have gone for extra bases. That adds up to the IL’s worst slugging percentage at .255. Only one team in all of full-season MiLB (120 teams) has a worse such number at the start of the day – Low-A Dayton in the Midwest League (Reds, .239).
IT FEELS LIKE THE ROMINE: The only multi-hit effort on the SWB side of yesterday’s ledger came courtesy of catcher Austin Romine. The ranked prospect singled twice and scored the team’s lone run. He has played in each of the team’s six games, hitting a team-best .389 (7-for-18) with three walks for a .476 OBP. He has posted multiple hits in back-to-back games for the first time since July 26-27, 2012 while rehabbing with Advanced-A Tampa. He had never before turned the trick at the Triple-A level.
RISPY BUSINESS: The RailRiders (0-for-7) and Red Wings (0-for-4) combined to go 0-for-11 with men in scoring position last night. SWB has gone a collective 13-for-62 (.210) with runners in prime real estate, good for fourth-worst in the IL.
WALK ON: Corban Joseph drew two of the team’s four walks last night. The RailRiders own the IL’s third-worst team batting average (.209) on the exceedingly young year, leading only Toledo (.197) and Columbus (.208). However, no IL unit has drawn more walks (37) than SWB. In fact, the average total for the other 13 clubs is a slim 22. Those free passes help elevate the team’s OBP to .336, good for seventh in the 14-team loop. In all of full-season MiLB, only Double-A New Hampshire (Blue Jays, 42) has drawn more walks than Butch Wynergar‘s disciplined disciples.
RUBBER OR GLUE?: Tonight, the RailRiders play their first rubber match of 2013 as they seek their first series victory at the new PNC Field. SWB was 3-1 in rubber matches last season. The lone loss came in the final game of the regular season and proved an omen. The 6-4 loss in 12 innings to Pawtucket on Sept. 3 was followed by a Pawtucket playoff series defeat of the club as the PawSox were en route to claiming the Governor’s Cup.
Moosic, Pa. – Thomas Neal’s two-run single and Melky Mesa’s solo home run helped the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) record their first win of 2013 at the new PNC Field as they defeated the Rochester Red Wings on Monday evening, 4-2.
The game was locked up in a pitcher’s duel between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Chris Bootcheck and Rochester’s Andrew Albers until the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Addison Maruszak drew a walk. One out later, Gil Velazquez singled to move him to second, and Maruszak moved to third when the ball got away from catcher Eric Fryer during Mesa’s at-bat. Mesa then followed with a single to left, plating Maruszak.
The RailRiders quickly re-took the lead with two runs in the sixth. With one out, Austin Romine singled to left field. Corban Joseph moved him to second with a single of his own to right field. Maruszak then walked to load the bases. Neal followed in a big way, singling down the left-field line to plate both Romine and Joseph, giving Scranton/Wilkes-Barre the 3-1 edge.
Mesa’s solo home run began the seventh and marked the first by a RailRider as well as the first host home run at the new PNC Field.
The Red Wings pulled one run back in the eighth when Arcia reached on an infield single and later scored on the double by Thomas. The run was not enough, as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hung on for the 4-2 win.
Bootcheck provided a big boost, tossing five scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Ryan Pope (1-0) pitched two innings, and recorded the win. Preston Claiborne retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the save.
Luis Perdomo (0-1) came into the game in the fifth for Rochester, and was handed the loss. He allowed two runs in an inning and one-third.
The RailRiders and Red Wings will play game two of the three-game set tomorrow evening at PNC Field. Fans that purchase a bleacher or standing-room-only ticket at the PNC Field box office will receive another bleacher or standing-room-only ticket free. First pitch at is set for 6:35 p.m.
Moosic, Pa. – The Pawtucket Red Sox secured a series sweep against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Sunday afternoon at PNC Field. The PawSox scored six runs in the early stages of the ballgame, and then held off the RailRiders late for the win.
The Red Sox added three runs in the third. Jonathan Diaz led off with a single that deflected off of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Brett Marshall’s ankle. Jeremy Hazelbaker and Justin Henry followed with walks to load the bases. After Drew Sutton hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Diaz, Lavarnway doubled to center, plating both Hazelbaker and Henry. Pawtucket led 4-0 after three innings.
The PawSox added another run in the fourth. J.C. Linares led off with a walk, advanced to second on Hazelbaker’s single one out later. He then scored on Henry’s single to right field.
Pawtucket added to their lead with a run in the seventh. With two outs, Brandon Snyder doubled, and was driven home when Hamilton singled to center field.
The RailRiders put up their first run of the ballgame in the eighth. Thomas Neal led off with a walk, and then moved to second on Addison Maruszak’s single. One out later, Corban Joseph reached on a fielder’s choice to move Neal to third. Zoilo Almonte then singled to right, driving home Neal.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre added the game’s final run in the ninth. David Adams led off with a walk and two outs later, scored when Neal singled to right field. The RailRiders could not mount any more offense, as they fell to Pawtucket, 6-2.
Terry Doyle (1-0) was superb for Pawtucket, tossing six and one-third shutout innings. He only allowed one hit, and struck out five. Marshall (0-1) allowed five runs over three and two-thirds innings and picked up the loss for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The RailRiders will now host the Rochester Red Wings at PNC Field as they open up a three game series with the Minnesota Twins’ Triple-A affiliate on Monday evening. Hot dogs will be priced at just one dollar all night long, and first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
Moosic, Pa. – The Pawtucket bullpen stalled a potential late really, and Jeremy Hazelbaker hit a grand slam to help give the Red Sox the 7-2 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Field on Saturday night.
The RailRiders struck first with a run in the second inning. Luke Murton led off by reaching on a fielding error by shortstop Jonathan Hee. A ground out later moved Murton to second, and he came around to score when Gil Velazquez singled to center field.
The Red Sox quickly grabbed the lead in the top of the third. J.C. Linares led off with a single, and scored when Dan Butler followed with a double. One out later, Hazelbaker walked, and Justin Henry followed with a single to load the bases. Drew Sutton then hit a groundball to first, but Murton’s throw to second was wide of the bag and got away, allowing Butler and Hazelbaker to score on the error. The three-spot gave the PawSox a 3-1 advantage.
The bullpens then took over, and neither team could muster a rally until the bottom of the eighth. The RailRiders loaded the bases with two outs, but could not push across a run to tie the game. That proved costly when the game flipped to the ninth. With one out, Brandon Snyder, Linares, and Butler each walked to load the bases. After a pop out by Hee, Hazelbaker hit a grand slam into the left field bullpen, giving the game its final score of 7-2 in favor of Pawtucket.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Graham Stoneburner replaced Phil Hughes, who was activated by the big league club prior to Saturday’s game. Stoneburner went four innings, allowed three runs; two earned, and struck out three.
The RailRiders will look to avoid the sweep Sunday afternoon against Pawtucket. It’s the first Family FUNday presented by NEPA Honda. Kids can get autographs before the game, and run the bases like the RailRiders after! First pitch against the Red Sox is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
Much like opening night at PNC Field, a five-run inning doomed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) as they fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox for a second straight night, 9-4.
Pawtucket got off to a good start by scoring two runs in the first. Jeremy Hazelbaker led off with an infield single, and moved to second on Justin Henry‘s single. Drew Sutton then walked to load the bases, and two outs later, Brandon Snyder forced a single to center field, plating Hazelbaker and Henry to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
The Red Sox punched across another run in the fifth. With one out, Hazelbaker tripled to left field, and later scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Henry.
The PawSox lead remained 3-0 until the RailRiders evened the score in the seventh. Walks to Melky Mesa and Cody Johnson and a single by Austin Romine loaded the bases to begin the inning. Thomas Neal then doubled to right field, clearing the bases and knotting the game up at three.
The game did not remain tied for long, as Pawtucket vaulted in front in the eighth. Henry and Sutton began the inning with a single and double respectively to put runners at second and third. After Lavarnway was intentionally walked, Bryce Brentz reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Henry, and Lavarnway was tagged out at second. Snyder then singled to left, plating Sutton. Mark Hamilton received his first start of the season, and made the most of it by hitting a home run to right field, clearing Brentz and Snyder off the base paths, and giving the PawSox the lead, 8-3.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre brought one run back in the bottom of the eighth. Zoilo Almonte singled, advanced to second when Mesa walked, and scored on Romine’s single up the middle.
Pawtucket added an insurance run in the ninth. With one out, Sutton singled, and advanced to third when Lavarnway doubled to left field. Brentz followed with a double of his own, scoring Sutton and giving the game its final margin, 9-4 in favor of the Red Sox.
Both starters were sharp in their first outing of the year. Pawtucket’s Allen Webster tossed five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Dellin Betances worked four innings, striking out four while shutting out the PawSox in the second, third, and fourth innings.
An exciting night of fun and giveaways awaits fans at PNC Field for Saturday night. The first 2,500 fans will receive a Greg Legg bobblehead, and a bonus fireworks show will follow the conclusion of the game. First pitch against Pawtucket is slated for 7:05 p.m., with gates opening at 6:05 p.m.
The chilly conditions in Northeast Pennsylvania seemed to stifle bats in last night’s game, as the two teams did most of their scoring in one inning apiece heading into extras. The big-frame theme continued thereafter, as Pawtucket put up five runs in the top of the 10th, highlighted by home runs by Jeremy Hazelbaker and Justin Henry.
Keep the Door Open
The left-field bullpen doors received a big workout on their opening night at PNC Field, as the two teams combined to use nine pitchers. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ‘pen tossed five and one-third innings, allowing one run in the fifth and the five runs in the 10th. Preston Claiborne struck out three batters in his one and one-third inning of action. The PawSox bullpen combined to go six innings, only allowing two runs despite issuing seven walks.
Runnin’ Low on Red Ink
Each team struck out 14 times on the night while the clubs combined to issue 14 walks. Three wild pitches, two passed balls and 20 total hits made for a muddy scorecard.
Night of Firsts
On a night where everything is new in baseball, many new feats were accomplished at the re-imagined PNC Field. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Corban Joseph recorded the first base hit of the new ballpark, singling through the left side of the infield. Melky Mesa later notched the first RBI in the new digs, singling home Joseph from second base.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre spent the 2012 season as nomads while PNC Field underwent a $43 million reconstruction. As a result, last night marked the first true home game for the franchise since Sept. 5, 2011 and a 5-1 defeat of Buffalo. A standing-room-only crowd was on hand with paid attendance announced as 8,443.
The RailRiders’ rotation features a nice mix of big-league experience and up-and-coming prospect youth. Brett Marshall, the sixth-ranked prospect in the Yankees’ system according to Baseball America, will be a new face to the Triple-A level. His 13 wins last season led the Double-A Eastern League, while his 3.52 ERA ranked fifth on the Yankees’ farm. Tonight’s starter, Dellin Betances, has already made his debut for New York and should be a frontline starter for SWB. Vidal Nuno opened eyes with his stellar spring training. The lefty received the 2013 James P. Dawson Award, given annually to the outstanding Yankees rookie in spring training. The 25-year-old went 1-1 with a save and a 0.61 ERA in seven appearances (two starts) for the Yankees this spring. He allowed just one run in 14.2 innings, allowing 10 hits while walking four and striking out 13. Nuno’s performance on opening night included six strikes and only three hits allowed. Chris Bootcheck rounds out the true minor league rotation. He has mostly been a reliever since 2006, but has 136 career minor league starts. Major Leaguer Phil Hughes is scheduled to make a rehab start on Saturday to round out the first turn of the rotation.
Mark Montgomery forced his way onto the top prospect scene last year by striking out 99 batters in just 64.1 innings of work with Advanced-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Despite being an 11th-round pick, he has vaulted up numerous prospect rankings since his breakout 2012 season. He is expected to be a key figure in the backend of the RailRiders bullpen. His 15 saves in 2012 paced the Pinstripes’ minor leaguers. The former Longwood University star enters the season as the 11th-best prospect in New York’s system according to Baseball America. Jim Miller has appeared in 47 Major League games. That includes 33 with Oakland last season when he went 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA and finished 18 games. Sam Demel has two career saves over 72 big league appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Juan Cedeno, Preston Claiborne, Ryan Pope, Josh Romanski and Josh Spence comprise the rest of the pitching staff.
Behind the Plate
The staff will be in good hands with the likes of catchers Austin Romine and Bobby Wilson. Romine, drafted in the second round in 2007 by New York, has nine big league games under his belt along with 21 SWB contests. He has been on numerous prospect lists since his professional debut and is rated as the “Best Defensive Catcher” in the Yankees’ system by Baseball America. Wilson has extensive big league experience with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That includes 75 games with the Angels just last season. Jeff Farnham will also catch this season.
Inside the Infield
Dan Johnson headlines a talented group. An IL All-Star with Charlotte in 2012, he took 2010 league MVP honors with the Knights after hitting 28 homers before slamming three as a September call-up with the White Sox. He has played in 413 big league games, hitting 56 home runs. David Adams was released on March 26 to make room on the Yankees’ 40-man roster for Vernon Wells. He signed back by the organization three days later. His .306 batting average ranked sixth in the Eastern League last year. Luke Murton’s 25 homers in 2012 led New York’s farm system and had him finish runner-up in the Eastern League to the minors’ top home run hitter last season, Reading’s Darin Ruf. Corban Joseph played 84 games for SWB in 2012 as the team’s primary second baseman. He ranked third on the team in home runs (13) and RBIs (56) as the usual two-hole hitter. Gil Velazquez has 32 big league games under his belt including 19 with the Miami Marlins just last season. He has played in 674 Triple-A games over 11 such seasons for a number of teams. Addison Maruszak closes out the infielders.
RailRiders in the Outfield
Melky Mesa posted a solid SWB performance en route to a call-up from the Yankees last season. He hit 23 homers and drove in 67 runs between Double-A Trenton and SWB. His homer total ranked second among the Yankees’ minor leaguers. Thomas Neal made his big league debut with the Cleveland Indians last season, driving in two runs in nine games as a September call-up. Zoilo Almonte ranked among the top-five Yankees’ farmhands in home runs (3rd, 21) and RBIs (5th, 70). Cody Johnson is known for incredible power and tape-measure home runs. The game’s 24th-overall pick in 2006 hit 16 homers in just 221 at-bats with Trenton last season, slugging .520 along the way.