Sports Update 

Good news and bad news in the 4-3 win over Tigers

March 10, 2023; Lakeland, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Carlos Narváez (94) at bat during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees claimed their eighth spring training win against the Detroit Tigers on Friday afternoon. Trailing to a 4-3 victory, the Bombers had had enough, scoring a late goal from Anthony Siegler to push them over the hump.

After starting Friday learning that quarterback Harrison Bader will likely start the regular season on the injured list, the Yankees at least had some positives to walk away from heading into the weekend.

Good news for the Yankees:

In the afternoon, the Yankees had five batters but struck out 15 times, with three batters striking out two runs. DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks, and Estevan Florial each counted out two. Florial had a dismal spring, hitting . 150 with a 0.27 OBP, but lost the battle for position to start left field job.

Hicks didn’t fare much better, hitting .278 with .278 OBP, leaving several men on base with a chance to put some runs on the board. However, the Yankees pulled off a surprise performance from Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who scored two hits and two RBIs via three hits. He hit a two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning, driving in Rafael Ortega.

Ortega has been great this spring, hitting runs and walking through two at-bats. 250 with a . 500 OBP and a 0.917 slugging percentage. Not many people are discussing Ortega as a viable option in the LF, but they should be, given Hicks’ continued struggles and he likely won’t put together a campaign reminiscent of himself for 2019.

As for team pitches, Louis Severino gave up two earned runs across 4.0 runs, both of which came via homers. Severino has struggled this spring but has slowly improved with each appearance, which is definitely a good sign ahead of the regular season.

We expect Sevy to get a few more chances over the next three weeks, and hopefully any shortcomings can be ironed out as he works through his pitching program. Jhony Brito also looked solid across 3.0 innings pitched, as his only error was a home run. He gave up four hits and struck out three batters but showed his ability to be a long-term option out of the game.

Relief pitcher James Norwood has scored two runs over a 1.0 innings pitch and lowered his ERA to 2.25 this spring, pushing him down on the 26-man roster. Despite Norwood’s performance, he is likely a candidate for Triple-A Scranton and could be called upon to assist if the team needs to supplement any injuries.

Overall, the Yankees certainly enjoyed some positives, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Carlos Narváez and Anthony Siegler, two of the young prospects on the team. Narváez counted runs and walks; Siegler drove in the winning run in the ninth inning.

Bad news for the Yankees:

We have pointed out some of the negatives earlier in the article. Notably, Aaron Hicks has netted twice, and Floreal is off the list. The Yankees are battling back injuries and already have to supplement several starting pitchers, specifically Frankie Montas and Carlos Rodon.

Offensively, the team hit so many times in Friday’s victory, escaping at the behest of Isiah Keener-Valeva, which is rare.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll have to keep a close eye on the battle for the left position as Oswaldo Cabrera continues to be used as a utility piece. Manager Aaron Boone indicated that Cabrera was still in the mix for the left field job, but with Bader relegated and the team wanting more reps on the field, the situation became murky.

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