TAMPA, FL - Day two of minor league Spring Training was much like the first, containing abbreviated workouts, infield drills, bullpen sessions, and batting practice. But it was in the cages on Tuesday where things started to pick up.
(Special thanks to Toni Rosen, our newest writer on PinstripesPlus.com, for contributing to this report. Toni will be covering the minor league complex and Tampa Yankees in 2007)
Melky Mesa was easily the most impressive batter in the cages on Tuesday, making solid contact and using the whole field. While a lot of his hits went from center to right field, he also clubbed five home runs. And just for good measure, while shagging down fly balls in the field, made a leaping catch over the fence to rob Marcos Vechionacci of a home run.
Charleston manager Torre Tyson, having a little fun while throwing batting practice, told Eduardo Nunez during the final round of batting practice that he would allow his group an extended period of batting if Nunez hit a home run. Two swings later while batting right-handed, Nunez obliged with a towering home run to left-center to the cheers of his teammates.
Zoilo Almonte had another great showing in the cages on Tuesday. Yankees officials who have compared him to Melky Cabrera are not far off as Almonte was hitting hard gappers with regularity, with a lot of them going the opposite way. He has also reportedly put on about 15 pounds since Dominican Instructs.
There are three noticeable absences from camp. 1B Karl Amonite and 2B Wilmer Pino, both scheduled to work out with the Charleston group in Spring Training, reportedly missed their flights. RHP Francisco Castillo is also not in camp and reportedly is working out some velocity issues in the Domincan Republic before finding his way to Tampa.
The position yo-yo continues to plague Jonathan Poterson. Drafted as a catcher, he was moved to the outfield upon signing with the Yankees. He was moved to first base after his first full year before being sent back to the outfield last season. He's now in camp wearing a first baseman's mitt and he looked quite rusty taking grounders on Tuesday.
Outfielder Andres Perez, an undrafted free agent signed in the offseason and now working out with Tampa Yankees squad in Spring Training, appears to be the line drive hitter as advertised. He was hitting liners from gap to gap and did manage to yank one over the fence during batting practice.
Prilys Cuello, a natural right-handed batter, only started switch-hitting about a year and half ago, which is kind of amazing after watching him bat left-handed in the cages the last two days. He seems much more comfortable from the left side and shows more power.
Like Zoilo Almonte, Mitch Hilligoss has been one of the more consistent batters in the cages over the first two days. While he has shown some home run power during batting practice, he has been stinging hard-liners seemingly with every pitch he's thrown.
Marcos Vechionacci, aside from being robbed of a home run by Mesa, has evidently benefited from his added muscle mass this offseason. He was consistently hitting lasers up the middle on Tuesday and the ball is really jumping off of his bat.
While Abraham Almonte continues to flash the power during batting practice, putting charges into hard line drives, he looked awfully rusty in the field. While he struggled with his approach towards grounders, he especially had trouble turning double-plays during infield drills.
Reegie Corona continues to get stronger with each passing year. He not only looks as physically strong as ever, but he started showing a little more in the cages on Tuesday, going to the opposite field with good power. In fact, at least on this afternoon, he showed more power going the opposite way than when pulling the ball.
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