13 March 2006

Pending Pinstripes: Hughes, Rasner Among Five Yankees Sent to Minors

On Sunday the Yankees reassigned several players to their minor League Camp. These were:

RHP Philip Hughes

Phil Hughes, ranked the #1 prospect in the Yankees system by Baseball America, was 1-0 with a 5.41 ERA in spring training this year. He had given up two walks, one hit and one run in 1.3 innings in a win over the Blue Jays on March 5th, the Yankees' first win and Hughes' first outing this spring. He then surrendered three hits, a walk and a balk in two innings, allowing one run and striking out two during a relief appearance against Cincinnati on Friday, March 10th, a loss to the Reds. On Sunday he was optioned to the minor league complex, which was no surprise, as Hughes has not yet pitched above Single-A Tampa, and isn't expected to be ready for the majors until at least 2007.

C Jason Brown is a career, journeyman minor leaguer. He’s 31 now and played last season at AA Trenton, hitting .248 with 4 homers in 51 games. He did have a .500 OBP this spring, but getting a walk in two trips to the plate is, as they say in France, a small sample size. Brown never had a shot of making the team anyway. He’ll probably end up in AA again, Crash Davising Phillip Hughes and/or Tyler Clippard.

OF Chris Prieto, also a journeyman minor leaguer, got a cup of coffee with the LAnafornia Angels in mid-May 2005, However, he didn’t have a chance to drink it, as he only saw action as a defensive replacement, going 0-2 in two games, and was promptly sent back to Salt Lake City, where he hit .317/.418/.457 with 26 steals but only 3 homers in 97 games. Now 33, Prieto can potentially be a useful fifth outfielder on a team that needs a little patience and speed off the bench, but not much else. Don’t expect to see him in Yankee Pinstripes this year.

RHP Darrell Rasner, claimed off waivers from the G-Nats last month, had a 1-0 record and a 2.08 ERA in two games (4.3 innings) this spring. He had given up 5 hits but no walks and only one run, striking out four. The win came against the Pirates on March 8th, when he pitched 2.3 innings, allowing four hits (including a homer to Ryan Doumit) and one run, walking none and striking out three. He had also pitched two scoreless innings against the Reds on march 4th, allowing one hit and striking out one. Rasner has an outside chance of seeing some action in the Yankees’ bullpen this year, but he’ll likely spend the year at AAA Columbus unless several of their starting pitchers go down with injuries.

IF Danny Garcia was 25 last year, but must have been injured, as the Baseball Cube reports that he played only two games at AAA Buffalo, in the Indians organization, in 2005. He had played a little for the Mets in 2003-04, mostly at second base, hitting .227 in fewer than 200 total at bats over tow seasons. I’m guessing that he’s a good defensive player, because nothing in his minor league batting record indicates that he’ll be able to hit in the majors. His career line is .273/.343/.392 in 320 games and almost 1300 plate appearances over 4 years. He’s not particularly patient, walking only once every 12 at-bats or so, doesn’t hit for power (13 homers in 1185 at-bats) and doesn’t steal bases (35 steals in four years, with 14 times caught). So I’m guessing it’s defense he’s known for, though he’ll need to prove he’s healthy before he can even get a chance to solidify his place on the Columbus roster.

In any case, none of these were surprises. Being among the first players cut from the Yankees’ spring training roster, these five players whittled the players in camp “down” to 57. Now they can get back to their regularly scheduled development processes in the minors.

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