DotF: Torres makes Triple-A debut, Austin has big rehab game

A few quick notes before we get to the game action:

  • I missed this yesterday, but SS Thairo Estrada was included in Baseball Prospectus’ Monday Ten Pack (subs. req’d). “His defensive ability and versatility give him a floor as a utility player, and he is capable of hitting well enough to develop into a regular,” said the write-up.
  • The Yankees have signed RHP Kaleb Ort out of the independent Frontier League, reports Matt Eddy. The 25-year-old has reportedly been throwing “95-97 mph with an above average slider” this year. Sounds a little too good to be true. Ort has never pitched in affiliated ball before.
  • The Yankees have released RHP Miguel Sulbaran, according to Eddy. Sulbaran has not pitched since 2015 due to injury, and he was suspended 25 games earlier this year after testing positive for a drug of abuse. Sulbaran is the guy the Yankees got from the Twins for Eduardo Nunez.

Triple-A Scranton (6-3 loss to Columbus)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 E (throwing) — 24-for-74 (.324) with ten doubles in his last 17 games
  • RF Dustin Fowler: 0-4, 1 K
  • 3B Gleyber Torres: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS, 1 E (fielding) — nice Triple-A debut
  • LF Clint Frazier: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K — 23-for-79 (.291) with seven doubles and five homers in his last 20 games
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 K
  • CF Mason Williams: 0-4
  • RHP Luis Cessa: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HB, 6/3 GB/FB — 72 of 102 pitches were strikes (71%) … he’s allowed 27 runs in his last 23.1 innings after allowing eleven runs in his first 29.1 innings
  • RHP Ben Heller: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — ten of 12 pitches were strikes

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DotF: Rutherford reaches base three times in Opening Day loss

At long last, the 2017 minor league regular season has arrived. The Yankees have a loaded farm system and this should be a pretty fun year. Even after RHP James Kaprielian complained about pain in his elbow that will send him into various MRI tubes. Blah. Baseball can be such a jerk sometimes. Here are some notes before we get to the Opening Day games:

  • High-A Tampa finally released their roster earlier today. RHP Dillon Tate is not listed on any of the four full season affiliate rosters and I’m not sure why. There’s been no word about an injury, so the Yankees probably held him back in Extended Spring Training. They’ve been working with Tate on all sorts of mechanical stuff since the trade last year, trying to get him back to his fourth overall pick form. We’ll see when he pops back up.
  • OF Jake Cave (knee), 1B Chris Gittens (unknown), LHP Chaz Hebert (elbow), RHP Brody Koerner (unknown), RHP Branden Pinder (elbow), LHP James Reeves (elbow), RHP Nick Rumbelow (elbow), and LHP Stephen Tarpley (unknown) will all start the year on the DL, according to Donnie Collins and Nick Flammia. Hebert, Pinder, and Rumbelow are rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
  • LHP Miguel Sulbaran, who came over from the Twins in the Eduardo Nunez trade, has been suspended 25 games for violating the minor league drug program, MLB announced. The 25-game ban indicates he tested positive for a drug of abuse (in most cases the kid gets caught smoking pot), not a performance-enhancer. Sulbaran did not pitch last year due to injury.
  • The Yankees have released 3B Drew Bridges, RHP Sean Carley, RHP Kyle Halbohn, RHP Cody Hamlin, RHP Tim Holmes, 1B Kane Sweeney, 2B Josh Gardiner, and OF Nathan Mikolas, according to Matt Eddy. There’s always a ton of cuts after Spring Training. The Yankees have also signed C Sharif Othman. Othman, 28, was with the Marlins from 2011-16. He hit .156/.208/.221 (23 wRC+) in 40 games between High-A and Double-A last season.
  • MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo posted a feature on Yankees’ minor league camp as well an interview with OF Blake Rutherford, so make sure you check those out. Also, don’t miss Anthony Castrovince’s feature on LHP Justus Sheffield, who doesn’t get as much attention as he deserves for being a top pitching prospect.
  • And finally, check out 20-80 Baseball’s massive Yankees organizational review. “They may not have the pitching to compete with a juggernaut Red Sox or a strong Toronto ball club in 2017, but don’t think that the rest of the American League doesn’t notice the stirring giant in the Bronx,” said the write-up.

Triple-A Scranton‘s game was rained out. They’ve already postponed tomorrow’s game too. One of the games will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday. They haven’t announced a makeup date for the other game yet. RHP Johnny Barbato will start the season opener Saturday, according to Shane Hennigan. LHP Dietrich Enns will start the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader and RHP Luis Cessa will start the home opener Monday. The starter for the second game of the doubleheader is TBA. Might be a bullpen game.

Double-A Trenton was also rained out. I’ll get the Prospect Watch up tomorrow since SS Gleyber Torres didn’t play tonight. This game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday. Prior to the rainout, the rotation to start the season was going to be, in order, RHP Chance Adams, LHP Justin Sheffield, RHP Yefrey Ramirez, RHP Domingo German, and LHP Daniel Camarena, according to Matt Kardos. Not sure what the postponement and doubleheader do to the pitching plans.

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Yanks acquire breathing human for Eduardo Nunez

Brian Cashman has turned the recently-DFA’d Eduardo Nunez into a minor league pitcher. As the Yankees announced a few minutes ago, the team has acquired Miguel Sulbaran from the Twins in exchange for Nunez. Sulbaran is a 20-year-old lefty pitcher who has put up decent numbers with both the Twins and Dodgers since arriving in the U.S. in 2012, and he has yet to pitch above Single A.

Sulbaran was the player to be named later in the Dodgers’ deal for Drew Butera last year, and at the time, Dodgers’ bloggers seemed to rue the trade. That said, Sulbaran is a 5’10” lefty who sits in the 89-90 mph range with breaking pitches described as “average.” Maybe he could one day be a bullpen arm, but for now, he’s org filler in acquired exchange for a bench player who was opportunities with the Yankees.