Yankees: Good news and bad news from 7-2 spring training loss to Tigers

mlb: spring training-detroit tigers at new york yankees, nestor cortes
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees faced off against the Detroit Tigers in their eighth spring training game on Sunday afternoon. Nestor Cortes took the mound for his second appearance this spring after allowing two earned runs in 2.2 innings against the Minnesota Twins. He did manage four strikeouts in the appearance but allowed seven hits.

Against the Tigers, Cortes lasted four innings, giving up just one earned run and striking out three batters. His only run allowed came from Andy Ibanez, who launched a solo home run in the first inning.

Yankees’ Offensive Highlights and Struggles

The Yankees also got on the board early thanks to a Juan Soto home run, his third of spring training, tying the game at one apiece. Soto’s homer to right field traveled 405 feet, bringing his slash line to .667/.727/1.889. The Yankees are undoubtedly seeing what Soto brings to the table, and having him with Aaron Judge at the top of the order should provide substantial results.

As a team, the Yankees contributed six hits but collected 14 strikeouts, with Judge picking up two and both Spencer Jones and Jeter Downs striking out twice. Jones came in during the latter portion of the game for two at-bats, struggling a bit after starting his spring on a high note. Heading into the game, the 22-year-old outfield prospect was hitting .556 with a .636 on-base percentage, including one home run and four RBIs over five games.

READ MORE: Yankees’ Alex Verdugo scratched from lineup with left leg contusion

Pitching Challenges and Prospects

As for the team’s bullpen, newly acquired relief pitcher Caleb Ferguson gave up two earned runs over 0.2 innings, and Ron Marinaccio allowed four earned runs over two hits before being pulled. Marinaccio has struggled to find his groove after a promising rookie season.

Now 28 years old, Marinaccio pitched 47.1 innings last year with a 3.99 ERA but hasn’t been able to live up to the 2.05 ERA in 2022 over 44 innings. At this point, he faces a tall task making the roster and will likely start the season in Triple-A.

Nonetheless, the Yankees’ star offensive pieces continue to provide substantial results, and the pitching is ramping up nicely.

With Marcus Stroman showcasing a solid performance on Saturday, Cortes took another step forward against Detroit, suggesting the starting rotation is heading in the right direction.

However, left fielder Alex Verdugo was scratched from the game with a left leg contusion, but it’s not expected to be anything serious. Verdugo was hit by a pitch on Saturday and remained in the game, but the Yankees are approaching the issue with caution.

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