Camp Report: Weekend Recap

A busy weekend it was down in Florida with all the action rolling in with the Yankee farm teams. From pitching performances by top prospects to breakout games by top offensive prospects, the players are refining their games for the 2005 season. All this and more in this Camp Report. (Free Preview!)

It was a weekend full of action for the Charleston spring training squad besides the off day on Sunday due to the Easter holiday. Beginning with Friday's action, then moving onto Saturday's intrasquad game, then onto Monday afternoon's game as well. There were key developments in these games including the emergence of a slumping prospect, the return of an injured one and continued dominance by pitching stars.

Starting off with Friday's contest, that game was started by righthander, Christian Garcia. After a so-so effort in his first time out, the tall righty was outstanding in this one. He went 3 innings, giving up no runs on no hits, while striking out 4 and walking 2. "I threw the ball really well," Garcia told "I'm getting closer and closer to where I want to be." The only real knock on his line score could be his walks but Garcia can explain that too. "The two walks I had, the pitches were borderline. They just didn't want to swing because they both looked ugly swinging through my curveball," he said with a laugh. "But, overall I was really happy with my performance." So, after a strong outing like that, it is easy to say that one of Charleston's staff aces is right on track heading closer and closer to the regular season in 2005.

Another major development on Friday was in regards to Mario Holmann. Prior to that game action, Mario had been struggling mightily at the plate. But, on Friday, things finally fell into place for the speedy second baseman. In this contest, he did just about everything. He went 4-5 with a home run, a double, 2 singles, 4 RBI and a stolen base. Talk about breaking out in a a big way. With a performance like that, it is easy to say now that he is off and running on the track he should be on. One other important note for Friday was the return of Jon Poterson to the lineup. Not only has he been in the lineup but also playing right field as well. So, it appears that the hamstring is no longer a problem for him.

Although Saturday included no real game action, the Charleston squad did get on the field for an intrasquad game. But, it wasn't exactly the best of days for the starter of the game, Jeff Marquez. He tossed 3 innings, surrendering 3 hits, 2 walks, 2 home runs while striking out 2 as well. It certainly wasn't his best day on the mound, that's for sure. But, his teammate and friend, Christian Garcia, was quite reassuring. "It is only spring training and it's better to get all of the rust out now. I'm positive that he'll be more than ready for the regular season." Also coming in relief in this game was Jesse Hoover. That is certainly a welcome sight after he battled shoulder tendonitis earlier on in the spring. Reports say that he looked strong after coming in relief of Marquez.

Moving on to Monday's contest now. The starting pitcher for this game was righthander, Brett Smith. Brett was about par for the course in his first spring outing and came back with a slightly better effort this time around. He threw 3 2/3 innings, giving up 2 runs, but looked much more comfortable than he did in his previous outing. That is the most important thing at this point in the season. But, it was the relief pitching that truly saved the day. Brad Blackwell and Brandon Harmsen (just with the team for the day) combined to shutout the opposition for the remainder of the game. And, with that, the Charleston squad went on to win by the final score of 3-2. The big contributor on offense was Irwil Rojas, who turned in a two hit effort in the victory.

On schedule to pitch tomorrow for the Charleston squad is Phil Hughes. He will then be followed by Christian Garcia who will throw on Wednesday. Both of them are scheduled to throw four innings apiece to work them closer and closer to their normal pitch counts.

News and Notes. Right now, there are no true injuries to report, and that is a very nice thing to hear. On the other hand, there are some positional notes to go over. Making a run for the third base job in Charleston is Ryan Haag. He may not have the typical body for the position but he was recently shown that he has the strong throwing arm for it. But, he may have a hard time beating out the red hot, Hector Gonzalez for the position. Also vying for a position of his own is Justin Christian. Yes, he will be 25 years old this season, but he is making a run for some playing time at second base. It is a bit odd that he is not playing at a higher level and perhaps he will even earn himself a quick promotion to high A ball if he continues to hit the ball as well as he has been.

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