The Yankees were in action in their first Spring Training game of the season on Friday afternoon against the Detroit Tigers and there was a profusion of new names and faces in the dugout, most of them not named Giancarlo Stanton.
The Yankees invited four non-roster catchers to camp this season: Francisco Diaz, Erik Kratz, Chace Numata and Jorge Saez. Saez saw his first spring action in the fifth inning, pinch-hitting for Jacoby Ellsbury as the designated hitter.
Jorge Saez was an unlikely heavy hitter for the Yankees against the Tigers going 2-for-3 on the day with a single and a double.
Never mind that this game marked Giancarlo Stanton’s (0-1 with a walk) first at-bat as a Yankee, Saez broke out the stick for a single in the fifth inning and a double in the sixth that would bring in what turned out to be the winning runs.
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The Yanks signed Saez in December of 2016 off waivers from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The 27-year-old is a native of Miami who attended Lee University in Cleveland, TN and was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 32nd round of the 2012 draft. He has not made an appearance in a major league game to date.
Saez played in 69 games in 2017, making two appearances with the High-A Tampa Yankees and 67 with the Double-A Trenton Thunder as the primary catcher. He slashed a .248/.345/.414 batting line.
Watching Saez contribute to the win yesterday, only wets my appetite for further compelling performances by the Yankees’ underdogs.