The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Winter ball updates: Betances better since rocky AFL debut

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Oct 23, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Trying to get some more innings and at-bats under his belt, Yankees center field prospect Slade Heathcott has been dealing with flu-like symptoms out in Arizona. That’s why he hasn’t played since Saturday.

Heathcott is rotating between center field, right field and designated hitter in the Arizona Fall League. His .240/.367/.240 slash line shows some obvious good and bad, but he’s also had only 25 at-bats through seven games. Hard to draw any conclusions from that.

A few other quick notes from Arizona and beyond…

• After his rocky outing in the Arizona Fall League opener, Dellin Betances has turned in two pretty good outings. His past two appearances has spanned 3.2 scoreless innings with two hits, one walk and six strikeouts. He’s also thrown a wild pitch and hit a batter, but he does seem to be trending the right way as he get further removed from that shoulder injury.

• Top relief prospect Mark Montgomery also had a rough Fall League debut — a hit, a walk, and a run in one inning — but lately he’s been more like the Yankees have come to expect. In his past three appearances, Montgomery has allowed one hit and two walks through four innings. He’s struck out eight in that span. He’s twice inherited two runners and left both stranded.

David Adams has been a regular in the No. 3 spot for Scottsdale — he’s batting third today, as a matter of fact — and he’s been solid offensively hitting roughly .260 (depending on what happens today) with three doubles through eight games. He’s also walked more than he’s struck out. Adams has also moved back to second base for a few games, maintaining some defensive versatility.

Austin Romine is one of three guys basically splitting time at catcher for Scottsdale. Romine is there today, and he’s batting cleanup. Still a little too early to know much about the way he’s hitting. He singled in his first at-bat today, and it raised his batting average more than 40 points to .263. The fact Romine’s still playing is a good sign for his back.

• Right-hander Zach Nuding struggled a little bit at the end of the season, and his first few outings in Arizona haven’t been much different. Through 6.2 innings he’s allowed 11 runs — seven earned — on 13 hits and five walks.

• Similar story for Dan Burawa who’s just now getting back into real games after that spring training oblique injury. He didn’t pitch for an official team all season, and through his first four games in the Arizona Fall League he has an 11.12 ERA with a .348 opponents batting average. Of course, he’s basically the definition of a guy who’s just down there to get some work. He just needs to pitch. Results don’t matter much.

Other winter leagues are also starting to get underway…

• After a nice bounce-back season in Double-A, Jose Pirela is still hitting as the regular second baseman for Aguilas del Zulia in Venezuela. He’s hitting .275/.383/.375 and regularly batting third.

• In the Mexican League, Ronnier Mustelier is spending time at third base and the outfield corners, and he’s hitting .300/.364/.500 through eight games. He’s also stolen two bases.

• At this time last year, Melky Mesa had yet to get a start for his Dominican Winter League team. This year, he’s already started five games in center field, and he’s hitting .316/.409/.684 with two home runs and a stolen base. Of course, he’s also struck out nine times. Doesn’t look like those strikeouts are going away, so Mesa’s going to have to prove he can be effective despite the swings and misses.

Juan Cedeno might have pitched his way into a big league role this year had either Boone Logan or Clay Rapada left room for another lefty. Now Cedeno is in the Dominican with 4.1 scoreless innings. He’s allowed four hits but has gotten the vast majority of his outs on the ground.




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