- Right-hander Nolan Martinez entered the professional ranks last season with the reputation of being an advanced pitch-ability guy and that was on full display on Wednesday as he tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings starting for the Charleston RiverDogs. He gave up just two hits, one of which was a bunt single. Sitting mostly 90-92 mph with some late-life explosion to his fastball, it was his secondary pitch combination that really turned some heads. The curveball will eventually need some tightening as it was mostly 73-75 mph but the bite on it was tremendous and the 83 mph changeups he was throwing in the loss on Wednesday were sure-fire big league plus offerings. If he can maintain that kind of changeup, tighten up the curveball, and add some much needed weight to his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame [and add velocity], with his feel for pitching, he would have an enormous ceiling.
- First baseman Brandon Wagner [3-4, K, RBI] drove home the lone Charleston run on Wednesday, scoring Isaiah Gilliam [1-5, 2B, SB run]. It was one of three hits in the game, all of which went to right-center to right field. A thinner and more conditioned Wagner looks quicker than ever. Perhaps the Yankees should revisit the idea of him playing second base again where the bat could be a plus tool.
Charleston RiverDogs Starting Lineup: Hoy Jun Park, Wilkerman Garcia, Blake Rutherford, Dermis Garcia, Isaiah Gilliam, Leonardo Molina, Brandon Wagner, Audie Afenir, and Jordan Scott.
- Right-hander Juan DePaula, acquired last season in the Ben Gamel trade with the Seattle Mariners, also looked quite strong on the mound. He came in relief of Martinez [who reached his pitch limit] in the third inning and struck out two batters in 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Sitting mostly 92-95 mph, like Martinez he showed off some really good secondary pitches too. He allowed just two hits and one walk, and made the big pitch whenever he needed to. Like Martinez he also has a rather high ceiling that should be monitored closely.
- Shortstop Wilkerman Garcia, who reportedly put on nearly 20 pounds this offseason, was the poster boy for what wound up be a hard-luck Charleston lineup on Wednesday. He went just 1-5 in the loss but was hitting laser seeds all over the field, including twice blasting missiles directly to the centerfielder. His one hit was a sharp one-hopper to right field.
- Centerfielder Blake Rutherford had a 'ho-hum' 2-4 [BB, K] afternoon. Both of his singles went to centerfield. He continues to be as consistent as they come hitting-wise in camp.
- On the subject of consistency, Oswaldo Cabrera, who put on a reported 15 pounds of his own this offseason, went 1-1 with a walk in his two lone appearances coming off of the bench.
- It wasn't just Wilkerman hitting into bad luck, Dermis Garcia had his fair share of troubles hitting them 'where they aint'. He went 0-4 with a walk but two of his four hits were smoked right to defenders -- the first one to second base and the other to centerfield -- and one of them was a warning-track shot to right field. Defensively though he had perhaps the play of the game, making a diving stab to his left at a bullet one-hopper that should have been destined for left field, looked the runner at third back with one out, and gunned down the runner at first base. It was a big league play.
- Leonardo Molina [1-4, CS], Audie Afenir [1-2], Jordan Scott [1-3, BB, K], and Jason Lopez [0-1, K, BB] each reached base safely in the loss.
- Right-hander Taylor Widener, starting for the Tampa Yankees on Wednesday, looked brilliant in his three innings of scoreless ball. Sitting 92-94 mph and displaying his usual assortment of above average or better big league secondary pitches, he struck out three batters and allowed just one hit.