TAMPA – After expressing concern about getting a feel for the new baseballs MLB is using this season, Gerrit Cole said there wasn’t much of a difference from what he was used to in his first spring start on Monday.
When asked if he could tell the difference, the right-hander said: “Not much. … I didn’t notice anything. “
Gary Sánchez agreed.
“I haven’t noticed any change at all,” Sanchez said through an interpreter after hitting a massive home run in the Yankees’ 5-4 seven-inning win over Detroit at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “If you hit the ball well and find the barrel, it will travel well.”
While the ball felt good for Cole, his results in his first action of the spring were mixed, but he didn’t worry after allowing a three-hit run in a 28-pitch inning in which he threw 15 strikes.
“I felt comfortable out there, trying to settle into a few pitches,” Cole said. “My location was not exactly where it should be.”
He added that he came out of the outing “feeling good” physically and that he would be looking to “clean” his throwing line on his next outing, which Aaron Boone said would likely be with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate, as the manager wants everything. his pitchers to throw to multiple catchers this spring.
Cole’s speed was solid, and Boone called his ace’s brief performance “really good.”
Derek Dietrich, in camp on a minor league contract, started at third base Monday and hopes his left-handed power will give him a chance to play in The Bronx, where he’s confident his swing will do well thanks to the small porch at the right. field.
Dietrich said he’s been told over the years that “his left-handed shooting power would definitely pay off at Yankee Stadium. It’s always something I’ve thought about. “
In addition to playing third, Dietrich said he is “more comfortable” at second base, which is occupied by DJ LeMahieu. He’s also capable of playing first base and corner outfield.
“I’ve always been a versatile player,” Dietrich said. “A Swiss Army Knife to put my bat in the lineup.”
Dietrich spent the first six seasons of his career with the Marlins, most of them with Giancarlo Stanton.
“The guy is an absolute beast,” Dietrich said. “Obviously, he has matured as a player, like anyone with experience.”
The two have trained together in Miami during the offseason, and Dietrich said Stanton “works harder than almost everyone I’ve ever played with.”
And with Stanton finally looking to stay healthy, Dietrich added “when he’s clicking and he’s consistent and on the field, he’s absolutely the best player on the field.”
Jay Bruce, another veteran at camp on a minor league contract, made a good catch running near the warning track in left field. … Aaron Hicks picked up where he left off a year ago, walking in each of his two plate appearances. … Sanchez didn’t have the only big hit of the afternoon for the Yankees. Chris Gittens, a 27-year-old outfielder, cleared the score at center left with his grand slam in the fifth. Gittens hit 23 home runs for Double-A Trenton in 2019.
Boone and Detroit manager AJ Hinch met at the plate before Monday’s game and Hinch