New York Yankees News: Yankees play first Intrasquad game, Thairo Estrada hits home run (video)

New York Yankees, Thairo Estrada

The New York Yankees played their first intrasquad game, the Yankees against the Bronx Bombers.  The game wasn’t played to see who would win, but to have pitchers get in their work and players to get to hit against live pitching. The game was broadcast live by the YES Network with Micheal Kay and David Cone calling the game from their respective homes. In the game, the Yankees overtook the Bombers 1-0.

The game was bizarre from the start. We have talked about no fans in the stands, but last night presented the reality of that, it was eerily quiet and spooky.  As far as I could tell there were only four people in the stands, two possible scouts with laptops, General Manager Brian Cashman and retired Yankee star CC Sabathia who watched the entire six-inning game from his seat while being masked.  All those in the stands practiced social distancing and were seated at least three seats apart.

Everyone in the stands, the coaches, umpires, Stevie Donahue, and manager Boone, were masked.  All of the ground crew were masked along with the bat boys. I mention the ground crew as the game was almost canceled due to heavy rains before the game.  The rain stopped soon enough to let the field drain and make the surface playable.

Bullpen catcher Radley Haddad donned his usual gear and squatted behind Gary Sánchez as the only umpire, signaling calls wearing purple protective gloves.

Both starting pitchers J.A. Happ and Clarke Schmidt pitched two scoreless innings in a game that saw nearly no offense.  Both Happ and Schmidt looked very sharp and in command. Pitchers Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Jonathan Holder, Chad Green, Dan Otero, Domingo Acevedo, Tyler Lyons, and Luis Avilán. all got to pitch in the game.  Most of the Yankee players got to have a plate appearance in the game including Estevan Florial, Rosell Herrera, and centerfielder Zack Granite. Although Aaron Judge got no hits he looked healthy and seemed not to be in any pain. The other Aaron, Aaron Hicks has two at-bats and hit a long out to right field.

All of the catchers in the game were surgically gloved. Gary Sanchez, Kyle Higashioka, and Zach Towle saw catching duties. As I said before the game was really bizarre as some half innings saw no outfielders or some with no infielders. This was done to limit playing time for all of the position players.  Another oddity was that some pitchers were allowed four outs. As each pitcher finished their innings they were allowed to have balls hit to them so they could throw to second and third base.

The only hit in the game that certainly would have scored was a bomb off the bat of Thairo Estrada who hit a big one into the left-center field stands off Tommy Kahnle.  In the game, Brett Gardner got one of the few hits in the game that was dominated by great pitching.  The Yankees will do it all over again tonight. One of the scheduled starting pitchers will be new New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. There are only 16 days to the opening of the regular season.