Opening night at PNC Field just got a lot more star power. Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch when PNC Field is re-opened. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders will be taking on the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, April 4. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., but Reggie’s pitch will happen a bit earlier. While plenty of fun is planned for PNC Field’s big night, Jackson’s first pitch will surely draw a ton of camera flashes.
Jackson’s New York Yankees career is well documented, including his heroics in the 1977 World Series. Mr. October was an All-Star in each of his five seasons in pinstripes. His 563 home runs rank 13th on the all-time list. The 1973 AL MVP Award winner had over 2,500 hits and 1,700 RBIs during his storied career. He participated in a total of 14 All-Star games, and was on 93.6% of the ballots when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993.
Fans can still buy opening night tickets, but they are going fast. Fans can purchase through swbrailriders.com, at the PNC Field box office, or by calling 570-269-BALL (2255).
Jackson’s former employers are in Washington D.C. this afternoon taking on the Nationals. Andy Pettitte is working in his final tune-up before the regular season. He’s scheduled to pitch against Boston for his regular season debut. The Nationals will counter with Jordan Zimmerman.
The New York Yankees are in the homestretch of their spring training calendar. It’s been a rough spring for the Yankees, but positive signs with the likes of Mariano Rivera, David Phelps, and Kevin Youkilis can still put a smile on even the most down trodden fan’s face. Arguably the best story of spring training is that of Vidal Nuno. Nuno is just two years removed from playing in independent ball, but he was awarded the 2013 James P. Dawson Award, given to the top rookie in Yankees spring training.
Nuno has been nothing short of dominant in his inaugural major league spring training. He currently owns a 1-1 record with a sparkling 0.61 earned run average. The lefty has recorded 13 strikeouts in 14.2 innings pitched in Grapefruit League action. Nuno pitched game four of the International League Playoffs last season for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His spring performance has put him on the shortlist to be at Yankee Stadium very soon. Past recipients of the James P. Dawson Award include Brett Gardner, Al Leiter, Don Mattingly, Willie Randolph, and Tony Kubek.
The Yankees played their second last spring game Thursday afternoon against the Pirates. Hiroki Kuroda dazzled Pirate hitters, allowing no runs on just one hit over six innings of work. Kuroda issued no walks, and struck out five opposing batters. The effort lowered his spring ERA to just 1.53. Unfortunately, the Pirates won the pitcher’s duel by a 2-1 margin.
The Yankees will now break from Tampa and head to Washington D.C. on Friday afternoon to play the Nationals. Andy Pettitte will get the nod for the Yankees, as he starts for the third and final time before taking the hill April 4 against Boston. The Nationals will send right-hander Jordan Zimmerman. First pitch at Nationals Park is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.
A busy weekend was capped off my a walk-off home run by Ronnier Mustelier, but unfortunately it wasn’t all good news for the Yankees organization. Derek Jeter will reportedly begin the season on the disabled list for just the second time in his storied career. Jeter played with the SWB RailRiders in a spring training game this weekend, but it he is not quite ready for big league action. The decision to have Jeter play for the RailRiders allows his disabled list time to be retroactive to the last big league spring training came he appeared in, thus making him eligible to come off of the DL much sooner.
After their walk-off win against the Rays, news broke that Vernon Wells may be headed to the Bronx from the Angels. Wells has tore up the Cactus League, batting .361 (13-36) with four home runs and 11 RBIs. With the play of Ben Francisco so far this spring, left field may not look so bleak until the return of Curtis Granderson. Alden Gonzalez of mlb.com reports that the deal is very close.
The Yankees connected for four home runs on Sunday afternoon, including the walk-off by Mustelier. Kevin Youkilis is looking in form, as he walloped two homers and drove in four runs. After a slow start, Youk’s batting average has risen to .262. Travis Hafner belted his second home run of Grapefruit League play, and Mustelier’s home run was his second in big league camp.
Jeremy Hellickson went deep into the ballgame for Tampa, tossing seven innings while conceding four runs. A defensive miscue doomed Yankee starter Adam Warren, who allowed four unearned runs over three and two-thirds innings of work. Mariano Rivera worked around two base hits to toss yet another scoreless inning. Preston Claiborne factors to be in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen to start the season, but today he earned the win in big league camp after recording the final two outs in the 10th.
CC Sabathia will start for the final time before the regular season when the Yankees host the Houston Astros at George Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday afternoon. The Times-Tribune’s Donnie Collins is providing fantastic coverage of the RailRiders at spring training. Check out his blog here.
CC Sabathia pitched to Yankee minor league hitters on Wednesday afternoon, and posted solid numbers. Sabathia went six innings, allowing one run on eight hits, striking out six. More importantly, 65 of his 92 pitches were for strikes. That’s a solid sign after Sabathia had some trouble locating in his first spring outing.
In Grapefruit League action, Vidal Nuno silenced Boston hitters as the Yankees downed their rival, 4-0. Nuno continues to turn heads in Yankee camp, and he tossed five shutout innings against the Red Sox to lower his spring ERA to an astounding 0.68. Over those five frames, Nuno allowed just two hits, and walked one batter. Let’s hope Nuno can continue this hot stretch, and bring it with him wherever he ends up on Opening Day. You can check out highlights of Nuno’s performance here.
The offense did all their work in the second inning, as they put up four runs in the stanza. After Juan Rivera led off with a single, Ben Francisco doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Jayson Nix followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Rivera. Francisco came around to score on a Chris Stewart RBI-single. Two batters later, a wild pitch with the bases loaded added another run, and Eduardo Nunez hit a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring.
The Yankees will remain at George Steinbrenner Field on Thursday, as they’ll play under the lights and host the Minnesota Twins. David Phelps, coming off his first rough outing of the spring, will get the nod for New York. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Ichiro Suzuki continued his hot spring, but the Yankees fell to the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 4-1 on Monday afternoon. Adam Warren received the start for New York, but struggled in his final inning of work. The Phillies put up two runs in the fourth frame, leaving Warren with a line of two earned runs on seven hits over three and two-thirds innings pitched. Joba Chamberlain was brought on to record the final out of the Philly fourth.
Ichiro drove in the only Yankee run with a double in the top of the fourth inning. His two-bagger drove in Brett Gardner. Ichiro’s spring batting average now stands at .382, a very positive sign for a Yankees outfield that is trying to cope with the loss of Curtis Granderson to start the season. Unfortuantely for the Yankees, the Ichiro and Gardner hits were the only knocks the Yankees could muster, as Kyle Kendrick and the Philadelphia staff looked sharp.
On deck in Grapefruit League action for the Yankees is Boston. The Yanks will host the Red Sox in Tampa Wednesday afternoon; first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Left-hander Vidal Nuno will look to continue his superb spring. Nuno owns a 1.08 earned run average, not bad for a guy who was playing Independent ball just two years ago.
Mike Francesca interviewed Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman on WFAN, in it he drops a lot of insight, including some prospect news. You can listen to it here.
The New York Yankees announced on Friday they had signed outfielder Brennan Boesch. Boesch was released, some say surprisingly, by the Detroit Tigers earlier in the week. He put up impressive numbers in his three seasons with the big league club in Detroit. He hit .269 and put up double digit home run totals in each of those three seasons. His career year came in 2011 when he hit .283 with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs.
CC Sabathia made his official 2013 debut on Friday, as he took to the mound in Grapefruit League action against the Miami Marlins. Sabathia looked a bit rusty at times, but overall had a solid outing. Sabathia ended up going five innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits, striking out a pair of Marlins. Yankee pitching was able to work out of jams all afternoon, as the Marlins pounded out 13 hits, but only pushed across three runs in the 7-3 loss to the Yankees.
Vidal Nuno pitched a scoreless ninth to continue his story book spring. Nuno is just two years removed from pitching in independent ball, but has posted a 1.08 earned run average this spring. The lefty has struck out 12 batters in just eight and one-third innings of work. Nuno has definitely made a great case for getting a look as rosters are being trimmed down.
Derek Jeter recorded his third hit of the spring, and played at short for the majority of the game before being lifted for Addison Maruszak. Travis Hafner went yard for the first time this spring, driving in two runs. Francisco Cervelli, the likely Opening Day catcher for New York, also hit his first home run of the season. Speedster Jose Pirela went 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Both of his hits were triples.
The Yankees lost a split-squad match-up with the Phillies this afternoon, 7-0. The other half of the squad plays the Atlanta Braves later this afternoon.
I woke up this morning to find a blistery breeze greet me as I walked out the door. That feeling makes me (and everybody else) want baseball that much more, and the good news is we are just under three weeks away from opening the new PNC Field. April 4 cannot come soon enough, but to warm your hearts we have another episode of Becoming a Ballpark.
In this week’s episode, Cameron and I head to the underbelly of the stadium to take a look at the inner-workings of the concession stand, the seasonal staff locker room, and we give you a fresh look at our brand new box office. We did this because our fearless staff will be manning that box office TOMORROW (March 16), as single-game tickets go on sale. If you want to get a jump start on purchasing single game tickets for exciting nights like opening night, July 4th, the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo visit, or any other of our exciting events, like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter for an exclusive early start. Likers and followers will receive a special code that will allow them to purchase single game tickets before they go on sale tomorrow morning, beginning at 10 a.m. today (Friday, March 15).
Thursday afternoon I had the chance to sit down with RailRiders President/General Manager, Rob Crain. Rob and I discussed his transition to being a GM at a young age, the re-branding of the team, the PNC Field construction, the radio extension, as well as what fans can expect from the RailRiders as we steam towards opening day on April 4 against the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Two veteran lefties squared off in Tampa on Wednesday night, when Andy Pettitte made his 2013 debut against Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees offense backed up the pitching staff with six runs on nine hits, helping lead New York to a 6-2 victory over the Phils.
Pettitte struggled to find the strike zone at times, but considering it was his first outing of the spring, that was to be expected. He ended up going three innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking three, and striking out three. Mariano Rivera appeared in his second game coming off knee surgery, and tossed another scoreless inning. Two very good signs for a Yankees squad that can’t afford to lose anymore key players.
Ben Francisco, who was just signed to a minor league deal on Tuesday, had a big Yankee debut. He made his one hit count, a two-run double. His spring batting average, combined with his numbers from the Indians, now stands at .391. Juan Rivera, Ichiro Suzuki, and Melky Mesa each recorded RBIs as well. Derek Jeter made his first appearance in the field, playing short for the first few innings.
The Yankees head to Dunedin to face the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon. Former Miami Marlin Josh Johnson will be on the hill for the Blue Jays, while the Yankees will send out right-handed pitching prospect, Jose Ramirez. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
Starting pitching was the story as the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays squared off in Grapefruit League action Tuesday afternoon. The Yankees sent Ivan Nova out to the hill, who was looking to build on his solid spring so far. Tampa countered with Alex Cobb, yet another top arm straight out of the Rays’ farm system.
Nova and Cobb stifled hitters, and kept the game scoreless through five innings. Nova went four innings, allowing four hits, walking none, and striking out two. Cobb was very dominant in his five innings of work, striking out six Yankee hitters while conceding just two hits. The solid outing lowered Nova’s ERA to a sparkling 1.00. Brett Marshall followed Nova’s performance by tossing three and two-thirds innings, allowing just one unearned run, and striking out three.
The game’s scoring came all in the eighth inning, with the Yankees outscoring the Rays, 3-1. Bobby Wilson made his one at-bat count, by coming up with a two-run single. Slade Heathcott, the Yankees’ second ranked prospect by Baseball America, drove in his first run of the spring. Thomas Neal singled twice for New York and scored a run.
Derek Jeter will get his first game reps at shortstop on Wednesday, when the Yankees take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Andy Pettitte will make his spring debut on the mound, as the two teams meet in a night contest in Tampa. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.