2/29 – Yankees vs. USF
S. Duncan DH
First pitch scheduled for 1:15 p.m. here at Legends Field — game one of 31 this spring. Joba Chamberlain starts for the Yankees and will be followed by Ian Kennedy for two innings, then Phil Hughes, Kei Igawa, Jeff Marquez, Alan Horne and Chase Wright.
The Bulls are starting sophomore right-hander Shawn Sanford. It’s great to watch these kids stand, seemingly in awe, watching the Yankees take infield practice. You’d have to imagine it’s going to be quite a thrill for the hitters to see how they fare against some of the best young pitching in the big leagues. Tino Martinez will juggle two caps.
1st inning: The Bulls are making contact, but Chamberlain sets them down 1-2-3. Score it F9, 4-3 and F7. Props to my press box neighbor Pete Caldera, who predicted Shawn Sanford would drill Derek Jeter. The 1-2 heater caught Jeter near the left elbow. Bobby Abreu singled on a hit-and-run and Alex Rodriguez brought the run in on a sacrifice fly to right.
I’m reminded of when Jeter told us last year that "It doesn’t matter – you always want to do well, even if you’re playing a high school team." Guess that applies to college kids as well. Moving on…
2nd inning: There’s the Joba we remember. He Ks Brian "Roy" Hobbs swinging at a high fastball. Easy pop-up to A-Rod and a strikeout (putout 2-3) and Joba’s work is done. Zach Pietrzyk is on to pitch for USF and promptly surrenders a leadoff double to Jorge Posada (though he did snap a nice hook in there for strike one). By the way, it’s pretty close to a full crowd today, and the Yankees pulled out all the stops to open up the yard — marching band, baseline introductions, four parachuters and a flyover. Cano grounds out, Shelley walks and Melky gets the second run in with a sacrifice fly to right. Jeter dribbles a 25-hopper past the shortstop to make it 3-0 Yanks. Abreu walks to load the bases for A-Rod as the USF pitching is getting a bit too fine. A-Rod rips a two-run single to left, Giambi flies out and I’ve got a good feeling about the Yanks’ chances in this one. 5-0 NYY after two.
Ian P. Kennedy sets them down 1-2-3 in the third. No runs for the Yankees in the third off freshman Matt Stull … Mike Consolmagno, leadoff man, opens the fourth with a solid single to center off Kennedy. New York scores four times in the fourth, with the highlight being a two-run triple from Posada, and this one is off to the races. Phil Hughes threw a scoreless fifth, striking out two.