The New York Yankees continue to grow accustomed to the new norm in their respective sport. That’s no fans, no music, no beer and most certainly no peanuts.
Bullpen catcher Radley Haddad was in the house Monday afternoon catching balls and strikes for the 37-year-old southpaw J.A. Haap. The Bronx Bombers participated in their first intra-squad scrimmage at Yankee Stadium as spring training 2.0 rolls on.
”It felt great, actually,” Haap said with regards to his start. Haap pitched for Team Yankees as they took on Team Bombers. ”It was a little bit strange, but I was actually surprised at the adrenaline, and I heard a couple of other guys saying the same thing.”
The Yankees are currently preparing to compete in a condensed 60-game season that will begin in less than three weeks. Some of the other players that participated in the contest were Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and Aaron Judge.
”Just the start of trying to create and build those live reps as we’re obviously getting pretty close to the start of the season,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said.
The Yankees open the season on July 23 against the World Series champions Washington Nationals in D.C..
Right hander Clarke Schmidt started for the Bombers. Schmidt faced a lineup that consisted of Judge, Torres and Stanton.
”For a lot of people, it was an intra-squad,” Schmidt said. ”It was a lot more for me.”
Team Yankees beat the Bombers by a score of 1-0. Prospect Thairo Estrada homered late in the contest.
Outside of the players getting into top physical form, the game served the purpose of allowing players to get used to the new protocols that have been put in place due to the current health crisis [COVID-19 global pandemic]. For example, pitchers were using rosin bags to keep their throwing hand moist. This replaces the unsanitary practice of them licking their fingers after every pitch. Lastly, baseballs are replaced each time that the one used before was put in play.
”Getting comfortable with what’s a little bit of an uncomfortable situation,” Boone said after the workout.
During the faceoff between teammates, Happ and Schmidt were followed by relief pitchers Zack Britton, Chad Green, Adam Ottavino, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle, Tyler Lyons and Luis Avilan.