BRADENTON – It was strictly rookie-level players on Tuesday as the (slightly) more experienced players went up to Tampa to play the Yankees. The intrasquad game was again more of a scrimmage, although it had real umpires; on Monday the coaches did the umpiring. Every at-bat took place with one runner on base somewhere and many innings started with one out, so the pitchers generally faced just 2-4 batters. The coaches go to some lengths to add some level of fun to the games. Yesterday they kept score by some system that I never figured out. Only one or two runners ever actually crossed the plate, but the black team somehow beat the gold team, 30-28.
Shane Baz got in a quick inning, as did several of the more interesting pitchers just up from the Dominican Summer League: right-handers Noe Toribio, Santiago Florez, and Luis Arrieta, and lefty Jose Marcano. Hai-Cheng Gong, who signed four months ago out of China, also made his first appearance with the organization. Gong struck out Dylan Busby and got a line out in very brief action.
Oneil Cruz once again played short. At 6’6″ he must be intimidating the hitters or something, because nobody ever hits the ball his way.
One note from Monday that I neglected to mention: Wyatt Mathisen played second in the game against the Blue Jays. I’ve never seen him play anywhere but third since he moved there. With Ke’Bryan Hayes likely moving up from Bradenton, and Eric Wood and Erich Weiss both probably returning to Indianapolis, Mathisen may need to move forward as a utility player.
A few players showed some power on Tuesday despite a breeze that was blowing in most of the afternoon. Sherten Apostel doubled to left, and Deon Stafford and Cruz both tripled to center. Stafford showed good speed for a catcher. Carlos Garcia drove one to right directly into the breeze that was caught at the fence.