YMLN - De Paula Finishes On High Note

De Paula was throwing a lot of strikes on Thursday

TAMPA, FL - The Yankees played a pair of six-inning games against the Pirates on Thursday, and in what was Rafael De Paula's last States-side performance for 2013, he ended his season on a high note.

  • Rafael DePaula, sitting mostly 94-95 mph on Thursday, made quick work of the Pirates. He did serve up an 'excuse me' double down the left field line to a left-handed batter that swung extremely late on 95 mph cheese and later scored on a throwing error by catcher Alvaro Noriega attempting to gun down the runner trying to steal third base, but it was the only hit he gave up. He struck out three batters in his two innings of work, and his command was a lot better than it had been in the second half of the season in Tampa.

  • Abiatal Avelino, playing shortstop in the other game, had another big impact in the game. Not only did he go 1-2 with a double to deep right field, swipe two bases [including stealing home on a double steal with Kendall Coleman] and score a run, but he had a great head's up defensive play. With a runner on second base, a Pirate batter hit a very high chopper that was about to go over his head. The ball bounced out of his glove and instead of trying to gun down the runner at first base, a play he had no chance of making even with his plus arm strength, he noticed the runner from second took too wide a turn around third after he dropped the ball and then threw behind the runner to get him tagged at third. It was a big league defensive play.

    Yankees Starting Lineup: Michael O'Neill, Austin Aune, Gary Sanchez, Eric Jagielo, Abiatal Avelino, Reymond Nunez, Kendall Coleman, Yeral Sanchez, Jackson Valera, and Rob Refsnyder.

    Bombers Starting Lineup: Cito Culver, Miguel Andujar, Dante Bichette, Chris Breen, Leonardo Molina, Alvaro Noriega, Jake Cave, Dustin Fowler, Gosuke Kathoh, and Brandon Thomas.

  • The most impressive pitching performance by a Yankee hurler on Thursday was turned in by right-hander Manolo Reyes. Sitting mostly 91-94 mph and showcasing a plus power curveball that sat 82-84 mph, he retired all six batters he faced in the Yankees 2-0 victory over the Pirates, one via a strikeout.

  • Eric Jagielo did not record a hit in the win but he is still seeing the ball extremely well. He smoked a liner to centerfield where the Pittsburgh defender made a nice running catch to get him out and later drew a walk in his second and final plate appearance, and later scored one of the two Yankee runs.

  • Giovanny Gallegos, sitting mostly 92-93 mph and showing a solid 77 mph curveball, retired five of the six batters he faced, one via the strikeout. The one hit he gave up -- a double -- was erased on the great play made by Avelino where he gunned him down at third base.

  • Like Jagielo, Rob Refsnyder had yet another solid day offensively despite not collecting a hit in the game. He drew a walk in his first plate appearance and promptly stole second base, and later hit a mammoth fly out to deep left field. Even his outs have been absolutely barreled up this Instructional League camp.

  • Left-hander Rony Bautista got the start for the Yankees and it was a tale of two innings. He gave up two straight hits in his first inning of work, including an RBI double to the second batter he faced, and despite later walking a batter later that same inning, he was able to regroup and limit the damage to just the one run on two ground ball outs and a strikeout. Sitting mostly 92-93 mph and showing a plus slider, he continued that adjustment in his second and final inning, inducing three straight ground outs.

  • Miguel Andujar [1-2] was the only Bomber batter to hit safely in the first five innings in the other game, crushing a booming double deep over the left fielder's head in his first at-bat that short-hopped the wall.

  • Andury Acevedo, the former Pirates' shortstop prospect, has turned himself into an intriguing relief pitching prospect this season. He has dropped his arm angle to a low three-quarter, almost side-arm delivery, and instead of throwing 97 mph overhead and not knowing where it's going, he's now throwing 93-95 mph from the side with much better control. He struck out four batters in two scoreless innings, although he did give up two hits.

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