The Yankees‘ 5-2 spring training loss at the Toronto Blue Jays featured a rusty 2023 debut by Nestor Cortes as the lefty returned from a hamstring injury.
Five things to know from Saturday’s game
1. Cortes struggled, allowing five runs (all earned) on three hits (two home runs) in 3 1/3 innings. He recorded four strikeouts, his three walks added up. Cortes threw 35 strikes on 52 pitches and squandered a 2-0 lead that New York built in the first inning.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. launched a hanging two-out, 0-1 off-speed pitch over the left-field wall that cut into the Yankees’ early advantage, 2-1. The second inning was more of the same as Cortes — again, with two outs — surrendered a two-run shot to Whit Merrifield that put Toronto up 3-2.
2. How the Yankees got on the board, though, was a positive development as top prospect Anthony Volpe — leading off — continues to have an impressive spring, getting on base by working a walk. Next, Aaron Judge just missed a two-run homer on a deep double to left-center field that gave the Yankees runners at second and third before Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton got the job done in the next to at-bats.
Rizzo’s soft groundball up the middle went for a 6-3 putout, but not before Volpe scored. Stanton’s groundball up the middle found the hole and scored Judge, who advanced to third on the Rizzo groundout, and presented Cortes a 2-0 cushion.
3. Volpe stayed hot and kept doing his job as a leadoff batter in the third inning when he singled on a groundball to center, although, the Yankees did not advance him.
Judge’s 6-4 fielder’s choice put Volpe out at second, but the shortstop ended his day with a 1-for-3 line in the box. Volpe is slashing .297/.422/.568 with two home runs and three RBI in 13 games this spring.
4. Stanton also continued to shine with a leadoff double in the sixth inning as he cemented his 2-for-3 afternoon at the plate. Through nine games this spring, Stanton is slashing .280/.333/.360 with two doubles and three RBI.
5. Notably, after Cortes, right-handed relievers Michael King and Jonathan Loaisiga fired the following 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
King entered for Cortes with one out and two…
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