Minor leagues get started tonight • 04.08.10
This is Opening Day for the Yankees minor leaguers. Of course, I’m partial to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre opener because I covered it the past seven years, but each of the Yankees top four affiliates will be in action tonight.
Late spring signings have significantly changed the Triple-A roster. Chad Moeller, Chad Huffman and Robby Hammock are on the bench, crowding P.J. Pilittere and Matt Cusick to the DL and forcing Reid Gorecki — who played in the big leagues last year — to Double-A Trenton. Kevin Whelan was also taken off the active roster, with the last bullpen spot going to Zack Segovia.
If you’re not reading him already, make sure you bookmark Scranton beat writer Donnie Collins, who covered a lot of those Scranton/Wilkes-Barre openers with me, and was doing it before I got there. He’s a terrific writer with a good baseball mind. You’ll like him.
Speaking of guys you’ll like, Jesus Montero will be batting sixth in his Triple-A debut. It’s the same ease-him-in treatment the Yankees gave Austin Jackson at the beginning of last season. For those who are curious, here’s tonight’s Triple-A lineup. Right-hander Ivan Nova gets the start for Scranton.
Kevin Russo 3B
Reegie Corona 2B
Juan Miranda 1B
David Winfree RF
Jon Weber DH
Jesus Montero C
Colin Curtis LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Greg Golson CF
Yankees re-sign some minor league depth • 02.13.10
Via Baseball America’s latest minor league transactions, the Yankees have re-signed RHP Paul Bush, 3B Marcos Vechionacci and OF Edwar Gonzalez to minor league deals. It does not seem any of the three will be brought to big league camp.
Vechionacci is the biggest name of the bunch and was once among the most highly regarded prospects in the Yankees system. His career, though, has been undone by injuries and a general lack of performance. Still just 23, Vechionacci is a good defensive third baseman, but he hit just .212 in Double-A Trenton last year (with career highs of 10 home runs and 113 strikeouts). He’s probably no more than upper-level minor league depth at this point. My guess is he’ll return to Trenton to play off the bench, but that’s just a guess. He could get regular time at third base if the Yankees decide to move Brandon Laird permanently to first.
Bush, 30, was plucked out of independent ball last season when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s pitching staff was thin, but Bush wound up pitching pretty well in Triple-A and Double-A and gives the Yankees some flexibility as a reliever or spot starter.
Gonzalez, 27, seemed to have a breakout year in 2008 when hit .295 with 14 home runs after an early season call-up to Double-A. Sent back to Trenton last year, though, Gonzalez hit just .232 with four home runs. He had some nagging injuries that might have played a part in those numbers. Regardless, he’ll probably go back to Trenton where the outfield crop is thin.
Other familiar names among the latest minor league deals:
1B Josh Phelps and OF Bronson Sardinha have signed with the Rockies, OF Jason Lane has signed with the Marlins, INF Angel Chavez signed with the Rays and LHP Chase Wright re-signed with the Brewers (though we already knew about that one).