TAMPA, FL - There were some balls leaving the yard in batting practice on Friday but none were more impressive than the power display being put on by catcher Jared Greenwood.
(Special thanks to Brendan Kennedy and Mike Jones, our newest writers on PinstripesPlus.com, for contributing to this report. Both Brendan and Mike will be covering the minor league complex and Tampa Yankees in 2007)
Jared Greenwood put himself on the prospect map last season after hitting 13 home runs in the pitching-friendly Florida State League...in just 195 at-bats no less! And if he continues to swing the heavy lumber like he has been in Spring Training thus far, he'll quickly prove last year was no fluke. He was seriously stinging the ball on Friday, including hitting three mammoth home runs and hitting a couple of others off of the outfield wall.
Gerardo Rodriguez put on a power show of his own, making solid contact and spraying four of his first six pitches into the outfield. He was hitting with power to left field and center field, launching two home runs - one to right and the other to left.
Cody Ehlers was one of the most impressive hitters on the day, hitting mostly line drives to right center and center field. He showed some power as well, connecting on one home run and two balls that just missed clearing the fence.
Andres Dionicio looked much better in the cages on Friday by not pulling everything. He was praying the ball to all fields, hitting a rope down the right field line and then on the next pitch he put one in the gap in left field. Dionicio was keeping the ball in the air, only hitting three ground balls.
Josue Calzado, aside from hitting a home run to left-center, looked at his best when he was hitting lasers into the right-center gap with regularity on the afternoon. He not only is making a concentrated effort to go that way but he has been executing that plan through the first week of Spring Training.
Melky Mesa capped off a great first week when he was hitting with power to left field and centerfield on Friday. He landed one double down the left field line and another in center. His one home run on the day went in the alley in right-center field and has arguably been the most consistent and impressive hitters in the cages all week.
Chase Odenreider, who collected just 64 at-bats for the Gulf Coast League Yankees last season, certainly looks the part of a slugger even though he didn't go yard in 2006. He hit three line drive home runs that cleared the wall easily. After struggling to stay back in his first two rounds he showed a lot of pop in his last round.
Like Odenreider, Kevin Smith didn't secure a starting job in his professional debut season last year but just might be opening some eyes in camp this year. He was hitting the ball the other way to left field nicely with a few singles but also showed some pop, clubbing two home runs that he put out in right field and a double deep in the gap in right field.
While he struggled batting right-handed, Ramiro Pena had a decent day in the cages as he used the whole field from the left side of the plate. He looked much more comfortable hitting left-handed.
While he had his fair share of troubles laying down bunts during batting practice, Marcos Vechionacci didn't have problems showing off his power. He hit numerous shots out to the gaps in left and right field, including a stretch of four solid singles and a double that hit half-way up the fence in right centerfield.
Jesus Montero certainly looks like he is comfortable with the changes made to his swing. Aside from the occasional slip-up, he has been keeping his head down more consistently and the power hasn't been sacrificed at all. He hit three huge home runs, including one to deep right-center, as fans behind the outfield wall were collecting his shots.
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