Camp Report: Charleston Loses Slugfest

And, the action keeps rolling in from Tampa, Florida as the Yankees' finest prospects gear up for the 2005 season. On Tuesday, the Charleston squad took on the Blue Jays affiliate, but lost in a slugfest. In this Camp Report, we look at that game, along with injury updates, news and more.

Well, the RiverDogs squad traveled for their first road game of the exhibition season in Dunedin to take on the Toronto affiliate on Tuesday. But, the results yielded not a victory or even a tie, but a loss instead. It was their first loss of the spring but certainly not something to be concerned about. They went on to fall by the final score of 9-6 in a shootout. As it is easy to tell by the final score, it certainly wasn't a pitcher's duel as the Yankee prospects brought their big bats to the park.

Long ball, long ball, and more long ball was the theme of the game on Tuesday as the RiverDogs squad went on to bash four home runs in the ballgame. They came off the bats of Ben Jones, Hector Gonzalez, Yosvani Almario-Cabrera, and Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli put in a good word for himself as he is simply trying to get some action before being assigned to extended spring training in April. For a quick overview on the Venezuelan, he is a right hand hitting, 19 year old catcher who played in the Dominican Summer League in 2004. "On defense, he is tremendous behind the plate," says his teammate, Mario Holmann. "He is a good hitter, sure, but he really stands out as a catcher. He is a very good player." Moving on, Ben Jones' long ball showed once again, that his power is the real deal. The first baseman is having an outstanding spring thus far. As for Almario, he is likely going to spend the 2005 season proving that the performance he put up in 2004 was more than just an overmatch in competition. He got off on the right foot by clubbing a home run in this one, along with two other hits. Overall, he went 3-4 in the game. Also going 3-4 in the game was the red hot, Tim Battle. With the type of pace he is setting early on, this may be the year where we can expect big things out of the most skilled players in the Yankee farm system. Speaking of potential, the Yankees have been waiting for the power of Hector Gonzalez to finally kick in. Well, on Tuesday, he contributed a home run in his 2-4 effort. He, along with Battle, are two of the hottest players in camp right now. So, obviously, offense is plentiful right now in Charleston camp.

As well as the offense went on this day, the pitching went just as bad. Let's just say that the RiverDogs didn't throw any of their best pitching prospects on this day. Perhaps if they had, to go along with the explosion of offense, they may have come out on top. But, that is the way the rotation works. Justin Berg got the ball to start the game on Tuesday, and he was scheduled to toss in two innings of work. The righthander was "so so" in his first outing of the spring, but not on top of his game my any means. In two innings, he surrendered two earned runs on some well struck balls. He was relieved by Hairo Solis, followed by Carlos Rosario, and Joey Watts. As you can tell by the score, none of them faired all that well. But, Carlos Rosario remains the most impressive. "He definitely looks good," says Christian Garcia. "He's looked good in the outings he has had." So, Rosario is the type of guy that has a great arm and may be be a vital part of the Charleston bullpen if he continues to impress in his spring campaign.

Just as a recap, the Yankee affiliates had their games cancelled on Monday but elected to play intrasquad games in the morning instead. Just to give a quick recap of RiverDogs' action, the star of the game was, who else, but Tim Battle. The center fielder had 2 hits in the contest, including a long, home run. On the mound was Jeff Marquez. And, he turned in an outstanding effort. The hard throwing righthander tossed two innings of shutout baseball, giving the opposition very little they could handle. Not to mention, he was able to showcase, his newly refined curveball.

News and Notes. The first bit of news to look at is in regards to one of the Yankee star prospects that we continue to follow. Jon Poterson did not partake in either of the games on Monday or Tuesday due to his still irritated hamstring. However, the positive twist is that the slugger did take batting practice on Monday and Tuesday and appeared to swing the bat very comfortably with no pain or irritation. So, once again, they are aiming for him to be in the lineup for Wednesday's game, but again, it depends on how he feels when game time rolls around. But, we are continually told that holding him out of the lineup is simply a precaution and not because of a serious injury.

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