New York Yankees Recap: Boone returns, Yankees lose a squeaker

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Aaron Boone
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Today, the New York Yankees traveled to Bradenton, Florida, for their first spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bradenton is about 50 miles south of Steinbrenner Field. The Yankees this year are playing only west coast teams as the coronavirus is still a concern. Those teams are the Pirates, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Detroit Tigers, and the Toronto Blue Jays. The game marked the return of manager Aaron Boone after his pacemaker surgery. The game today was delayed by rain for about an hour and ten minutes. The Yankees lost the game 3-2 to the Pirates.

When the game started, Cody Ponce was on the mound for the Pirates. Michael Tauchman softly ground out, followed by Gio Urshela, who also grounded out. The veteran Jay Bruce had a line-drive homer to right-center, his first homer of spring training. Clint Frazier walked on six pitches. Derek Dietrich also walked. Mike Ford ground out to third base, but the Yankees put a run on the board.

Jameson Taillon took the mound for the New York Yankees against his old teammates at the bottom of the frame. Cole and Taillon were teammates during 2016, 2017, and when in the minors. Taillon first faced Dustin Fowler, who he struck out on four pitches. Bryan Reynolds also stuck out. Colin Moran lined out sharply to left fielder Dietrich. Taillon continued his excellent play from March 1, when he struck out the side in his Yankee debut. Yankees 1 Pirates 0.

The Pirates replaced Ponce in the second with Carson Fulmer. Kyle Higashioka, who is batting .333 so far this season, ground out to ex-Yankee Todd Frazier. Tyler Wade stuck out swinging, Thairo Estrada singled bring us back to the top of the lineup, and Mike Tauchman, his bat, was cut short, then the inexperienced Estrada got caught stealing, ending the half. At the bottom, Taillon was out for his second inning of work facing Todd Frazier, who has had 2 homers already this season. Frazier managed a single. Gregory Polanco also singled. For the first time, this season Taillon had two runners on base. Erik Gonzalez popped out. Anthony Alford struck out, and Michael Perez walked, loading the bases. Kevin Kramer closed out the inning for Taillon by striking out. Taillon worked out of trouble and has not allowed a run in spring training.

At the top of the third, Mike Tauchman resumed his at-bat and stuck out. Gio Urshela also struck out, and Jay Bruce, who homered in the first inning, lined out for Fulmer’s quick inning. Jhoulys Chacin replaced Taillon and face Fowler to struck out. Reynolds singled to Tauchman. Moran doubled, moving Reynolds to third. Frazier was hit by a pitch loading the bases for the second inning in a row. Polanco singled, driving in two runs for the Pirate lead. With men on the corners. With Gonzalez hitting, Polanco stole second base. Gonzalez struck out. Alford ground out, but not before Chacin gave up two runs. Pirates 2 Yankees 1.

Clint Frazier led off the fourth. Frazier, who played so well last season, is only batting .143 so far. He ground out, nearly knocking Gonzalez off his feet. Dietrich followed with a flyout, and Mike Ford gound out, finishing Hartlieb’s one-two-three put down of the Yankees. At the bottom, Trevor Lane replaced Chacin on the mound. Perez grounded out to Ford at first. Kramer struck out, followed by a Fowler single. Reynolds singled, moving Fowler to second. Moran walked, loading the bases for the third inning in a row. This time with two outs. With Todd Frazier at the plate, the Yankees made a pitching change and brought in Glenn Otto. Otto got the job done striking out Frazier.

Higashioka faced Nick Mears at the top of the fifth. He struck out. Wade Flew out. Estrada had a long single to left field. Tauchman struck out. After a ground out in the first, the T-Man has struck out twice. Luis Cessa took over the pitching in the bottom of the frame. Gonzalez ground out, Swaggerty struck out, and Perez doubled driving the Pirate’s third run. Kramer finished off the inning by grounding to Ford. Pirates 3 Yankees 1.

At the sixth Ogle was out for the Pirates facing the Yankees Andrew Velazquez who stuck out. Beltre struck and Clint Frazier homered with a long line drive into the left-field stands. Dietrich struck out. At the bottom, Adam Warren was on the mound. Craig flew out. Smith-Njigba ground out. Cruz struck out ending the inning. Pirates 3 Yankees 2.

Ford flew out to center in the seventh. Higashioka popped out, and Wade ended the shortest half of the game by striking out. Final Score Pirates 3 Yankees 2. The winning pitcher was Fulmer the loser Jhoulys Chacin.