NY’s power trio finally together
TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees’ fans had been waiting for this: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez hitting back-to-back-to-back.
With the slugging trio in the lineup together for the first time, Sanchez hit a long home run, Stanton had two hits and Judge hit a hard grounder in Wednesday’s 9-6 spring training loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Stanton reached on a pop-fly single to right with one out in the first and Sanchez sent the next pitch from left-hander Daniel Norris over the left-center field scoreboard at Steinbrenner Field.
“It feels great when you hit squarely,” Sanchez said through a translator.
Norris didn’t watch the ball leave the park.
“It was really loud,” he said. “I figured it was gone. A first-pitch ambush heater that got hit really far.”
Stanton, acquired from Miami in December, also doubled off the right-field wall and flied out to deep center. Sanchez added a soft single to center.
“It looked like he was back in the (home run) derby kicking my butt,” Stanton said of Sanchez.
Judge, the designated hitter in his first game since offseason left shoulder surgery, struck out and hit a smash down the third-base line that Jeimer Candelario snagged with a backhand grab while on one knee.
“It felt great,” Judge said. “It felt like an opening day, getting a chance to be back out with the guys again. Making the progress we wanted.”
Judge was the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year after hitting a league-high 52 homers with 114 RBIs. He had surgery Nov. 20 for loose-body removal and cartilage clean up.
Sanchez had 33 homers last year despite missing most of April with a biceps injury. His early power impressed Judge.
“I feel like he can just wake-up out of bed with no swings, get into a game and do that,” Judge said.
Stanton won the NL MVP award last year after hitting a big league-high 59 homers with 132 RBIs.
New York’s lineup was filled with most of the players likely to start the March 29 opener at Toronto, though new Yankees manager Aaron Boone said against most right-handers he likely will break his sluggers.
“Murderers’ row,” a smiling Norris said.
Bucs fall again
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Pittsburgh Pirates dropped to 0-4-2 in spring training, giving up two runs in the bottom of the seventh and falling to the Boston Red Sox, 4-3.
Eight Pirate pitchers combined to limit the Red Sox to five hits.
Starling Marte went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI for the Pirates, while Gregory Polanco and Kevin Newman doubled, and Kevin Kramer tripled.
Nats call in camels
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Hump day had a more tangible meaning for the Washington Nationals.
New manager Dave Martinez had a trio of camels brought to spring training camp Wednesday, four-legged visual aids to help players launch a journey aimed at getting over the franchise’s playoff hump.
“I don’t know if it’s so much as embrace it, but just not worry about it because so much as been made about it,” first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “It’s fair for people to write about it, but making the playoffs every year, winning divisions every year to me is already over the hump. We used to lose 90 games every year. People forget that.”
The Nationals have reached the playoffs in four of the last six seasons but have not won a postseason series since relocating to Washington ahead of the 2005 season.
Martinez joined players for the team’s daily “Circle of Trust” meeting on the turf infield outside the clubhouse at 9:30 a.m. Not long into the meeting, first base coach Tim Bogar and third base coach Bob Henley rode camels onto the field.
“I thought it was a great idea,” said Bogar, who’s first foray into camel riding came on a cow named Blondie.
n Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel had surgery on his left hand Wednesday and is expected to miss the start of the season.
n Logan Morrison and the Twins finalized a $6.5 million, one-year contract Wednesday, a deal that includes a $5.5 million salary this year and an $8 million club option for 2019 with a $1 million buyout.
n Lucas Duda agreed to a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Royals that allows him to earn $1.3 million more in performance bonuses.