The Yankees heavily reloaded on blue chip minor leaguers with their deadline trades, and John Harper of the New York Daily Newswonders if the club will try to deal from this newfound prospect depth to acquire a frontline starter this winter. Jose Fernandez may be the most available ace on the market, given that the Marlins may not have the money to keep him before he hits free agency after the 2018 season. Landing Fernandez would likely cost the Yankees Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, one of Jorge Mateo or Gleyber Torres and probably one more pitching prospect. It might take an even biggest prospect package than that to acquire Chris Sale given Sale’s club-friendly contract, while the Athletics’ Sonny Gray or the Rays’ Chris Archer are coming off down years and may be too risky for the Yankees given the prospect cost it would take to acquire them.
Yankees relief pitcher Richard Bleier throws against the Detroit Tigers.(AP)
NEW YORK - The New York Yankees announced prior to Friday's game with Tampa Bay that they have recalled LHP Richard Bleier from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The move gives the Yankees 32 active players, as well as 4players on the 15-day disabled list.
Bleier, 29, was signed as a minor-league free agent over the winter, and made his MLB pitching debut in pinstripes earlier this season. He has split 2016 almost evenly between the Bronx and Triple-A, posting a 3.38 ERA in 13 1/3 innings over 16 games in pinstripes and going 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA and one save in 12 games (10 starts) with the RailRiders.
The lefty's recall is likely to bolster a bullpen that has, despite its increased September size, been heavily taxed of late; the Yankees used 5 relievers to throw 5 innings behind CC Sabathia last night, 4 of which either pitched or warmed up on 3 of 4 days so far this week, and Luis Severino is still unavailable after throwing 52 pitches over 3 innings on Wednesday.
The Yankees may also still be without Adam Warren and Dellin Betances, who threw 44 and 40 pitches, respectively, on Tuesday - with Betances' work being his 3rd straight day on the mound.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre cannot add anyone to replace Bleier, as their roster is locked (minus the necessity of an injury replacement) for the duration of their best-of-5 Governor's Cup semifinal series, which they lead 2-0 over Lehigh Valley entering Friday.
Bleier's recall does, however, mark the 2nd time a scheduled starter in that series has been called up to the Bronx; Bleier was the scheduled starter if Game 4 was necessary on Saturday, and the Yankees had previously recalled Bryan Mitchell, who was as of Monday slated to start tonight's Game 3 but instead was added to the Yankees roster to make Wednesday night's start against Toronto.
Alex Rodriguez prepares to bat during his second rehab game with the Charleston RiverDogs.(AP)
CHARLESTON, SC - In their 12 seasons as a Yankees affiliate, the Charleston RiverDogs have sent 52 players from The Joe to "The Show" with Yankees stars including the likes of Phil Hughes, David Robertson and Dellin Betances along with rising stars Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge all once having called Charleston home.
Off the field, the RiverDogs' have enjoyed some of their most successful seasons eclipsing attendance records almost annually with the Yankees affiliation. In a continuation of the relationship, the RiverDogs and the Yankees have announced an extension of their partnership for 4 years, through the 2020 season.
"We're thrilled to continue our relationship with the Yankees, the most successful and recognizable organization in professional sports," said Marv Goldklang, principal owner of the RiverDogs. "This has been a mutually beneficial partnership since the outset, providing a 1st- class facility and playing surface to help the Yankees develop premium on-field talent while we entertain fans with our award-winning off-field experience."
"We are excited to renew with the Charleston RiverDogs," said Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. "The franchise is a jewel of MiLB under Marv's leadership and that of President and General Manger Dave Echols, and we couldn't be happier to partner for another four years."
With the crop of Yankees talent flowing through Charleston during the past 12 years, it is notable that 18 players on the Yankees' current Major League roster appeared in a RiverDogs uniform. Off the field, the RiverDogs have broken their attendance record four times in the past 12 seasons, including a record setting 293,161 fans who passed through the turnstiles in 2016.
Tyler Austin goes from workless to walk-off in a whirlwind 52 weeks
09/09/2016 7:44 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
Tyler Austin hits a walk off home run off Erasmo Ramirez.(AP)
NEW YORK - It was exactly one year ago, September 9, 2016, that Tyler Austin breathed one of the biggest sighs of relief in his professional baseball career.
Austin had just finished up a disappointing 2016 season, one that saw him get re-assigned from Triple-A to Double-A in the midst, but he didn't finish it on the field; instead, he did so sitting in limbo, after the Yankees had designated him for assignment on Sept. 1 and taken him off the 40-man roster.
"Brian Cashman called me and said they were going to designate me for assignment, and that he would keep in touch," Austin recalled Friday afternoon. "It stung, and I didn't really know what was going to happen, but I knew that I wanted to be here (with the Yankees)."
Austin was, at that moment, a victim of the crunch that sometimes comes when rosters expand, the Yankees choosing to usurp his roster spot to add others who could help their playoff push in the Bronx.
"I think he had gone through some injuries and had some down years," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Friday when asked about that move, "and I think they felt comfortable taking him off the roster and feeling he would get through, in a sense. I still think we had belief in him, but he had some down time."
Austin had no clue what the immediate or long-term futures held, and a few days after the DFA, he spent his 24th birthday on Sept. 6th watching Trenton play their penultimate game of the season. Three days later, though, Austin finally got his answer: he had cleared waivers, and the Yankees decided to keep him in the organization and outright him to the Minors.
Six seasons into his career, Austin went into that winter knowing that if he finished 2016 in same position, i.e. not on the 40-man roster, he would become a minor-league free agent, and made it a point to make sure there was nowhere to go but up.
"I didn't want (to leave); I wanted to be here, because this is the best organization in the world," Austin said. "So I worked hard last winter, and I came into this year with the mindset that I was going to work hard as possible every day to get back to where I needed to be."
Before the season ended, Austin first went to the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .272 over 21 games while also getting reacquainted with first base, and he followed that up by hitting .280 over a strong 8-game stint in Venezuelan Winter Ball.
"We saw some progress at the end of last year," Girardi said of that, "and it carried over into this year."
Spring training came and went without an invite to major-league camp, but it did come with a new assignment: the combination of outfield depth and 1st-base dearth in the organization after Greg Bird's shoulder surgery led Austin back to Trenton to serve as the everyday 1st baseman.
It was a move that, on paper, looked more like the Yankees filling a need than a want, but Austin hit .260 over 50 games in Trenton and played well at 1st - and when the Yankees needed to summon Triple-A 1st baseman Chris Parmelee to the Majors in early June, Austin got the call to Triple-A.
Once again, a move that seemed to be temporary to fill a need, but Austin did even better in his 2nd career taste of Triple-A, hitting .323 with 13 HRs over 2 months in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
And then, another opportunity arose: the chance to become a big-leaguer, and his first major-league call-up on August 13. Austin's first four weeks in the Majors haven't been all roses - he hit a HR in his first career at-bat, then went 5-for-35 the remainder of the month - but he never lost focus through it all, and has really made the most of his chances in September.
Entering Friday, Austin was hitting .412 in 6 games this month, with quite a surge of memorable moments on the 1st 4 games of the Yankees' homestand; he had his 1st multi-RBI game in Monday's win over Toronto, hit a big 2-run HR in the 7th inning on his birthday Tuesday, and then strode to the plate in the 9th inning Thursday night with 2 outs and the game tied 4-4.
In the past, that might have been a situation where Girardi would pinch-hit Mark Teixeira, who has over 400 more career HRs than Austin, but the skipper
"I wasn't worried about it, because it's not my decision; if Joe wanted to pinch-hit Tex there, it's his call," Austin said. "I'm just happy I got that opportunity, and I made the most of it."
That's an understatement, as what followed was his 1st career walk-off HRr to end the Yankees' 5h straight win. Girardi joked Friday that Austin had "probably answered as many texts in the last day as he has in his life," and the rookie didn't downplay the truth in that.
"Yeah, I got lots of calls and text and Tweets last night and people were still talking this morning," Austin sheepishly admitted, "but it was a great team win for us, and I was happy to be a part of it."
Credit part of the reason Girardi stuck with Austin to what the skipper has seen in not only him, but the rest of the Baby Bombers who have made a big impact over the last 6 weeks.
"I think what I've seen is them being able to control their emotions, not get caught up in the moment and just let their talents take over. That's what you want," Girardi said. "Watch Tyler's at-bat, and you see he didn't try to do too much. His approach all year long was to go gap-to-gap and that's exactly what he did; his approach never changed, even though the moment was big."
And credit all of that to the impression Austin has clearly made on Cashman, as he's turned a complete 180 from where he stood a year ago and is now again a part of the future, perhaps even as competition for Bird when he returns in 2017.
"He's done a nice job," Cashman said Tuesday. "Obviously we're going to try to learn as much about him as we can the rest of the way, and going into next year with Bird, may the best man win."
The future truly has never looked brighter for Austin, but as he reflects back on his path over the last year, he also reminds himself that the light of the end of the tunnel can still go out at any minute.
"Last year was probably one of the more difficult years of my career, but I look back on it all the time and just remind myself to stay humble, because this game can knock you down real quick if you let it," he said. "Everyone is going to go through rough patches, but you just have to keep going, and remember that you need to continue to work every day and not get comfortable with where you're at."
Baby Bombers Playoff Blog: SWB advances, Staten Island eliminated on wild Friday
09/10/2016 1:25 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro
Cito Culver takes fielding practice before a game against the Boston Red Sox.(AP)
Friday was a little bit of everything when it came to the Baby Bombers' playoff fates, with the aggregate pulling out just about every scenario possible.
At the 2 highest levels, 1 team finished off a sweep while the other didn't; at the 2 lowest levels, 1 team staved off elimination, while the other didn't; and, right in the middle, the Tampa Yankees simply played Game 1 of a best-of-5 final series, their result (at least in this paragraph) making it another 2-3 day on the last day all 5 affiliates will be in action together.
TRIPLE-A: RailRidin' to the finals Scranton/Wilkes-Barre couldn't make it 3shutouts in 3 games, but the offense made sure they didn't need to, battering Lehigh Valley pitching in a 11-3 win that completed a 3-game sweep in their Governor's Cup semifinal series.
SWB struck early, scoring 3 in the 1st to take a lead they'd never relinquish, but after Lehigh Valley finally scored in the 4th, the RailRiders plated 8 and sent 1x batters to the box in that inning to salt it away. Catcher Kyle Higashioka was 2-for-2 with 2 RBIs in that frame alone, and the biggest blow was Cito Culver's 3-run shot after Higashioka's early RBI double to make it 7-1.
Offensively, SWB had 13 hits, all of them coming in multiples; Higashioka was 3-for-4, and Culver, Jake Cave, Mason Williams, Donovan Solano, and Chris Parmelee all had 2.
On the mound, Brady Lail went just 4 innings, allowing the 1 run on 5 hits, and Tyler Webb worked around a leadoff double in the 5th but he ran into trouble in the 6th, allowing 2 runs and leaving with no outs and the bases loaded.
However, Giovanny Gallegos bailed Webb out without any further damage, and he ended up pitching 3 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 walk and striking out 5, before J.R. Graham came on in the 9thinning to close out the series and send SWB to the finals with a strikeout of Osmel Aguila.
SWB will now advance to the best-of-5 Governor's Cup Finals, which will begin Monday. They will face either Gwinnett or Columbus - Gwinnett holds a 2-1 lead in their series entering Saturday - with Games 1 and 2 on the road and Games 3-5 if necessary at PNC Park.
DOUBLE-A: Thunder railroaded by Reading It will take Trenton at least 1 more day to punch their ticket to the Eastern League Championship Series, as the Reading Fightin Phils took down the Thunder 13-5 in Game 3 of the East Division Championship Series.
It was a rough night for starter Justus Sheffield, who allowed 6 runs over 4 1/3 innings, and an even rougher night for Cale Coshow, who was also tagged for 6 in just 2 frames of work. Reading had a 4-0 lead after 2, added 5 in the 5th to chase Sheffield and make it 9-1, then plated a pair each in the 6th and 7th to salt it away before Evan Rutckyj (1.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K) closed the door.
Trenton's runs came courtesy of Dante Bichette's single in the 4h, Billy McKinney's 2-run double in the 6th, Sebastian Valle's solo HR in the 7th, and McKinney's solo shot in the 9th - and in all, that trio accounted for 6 of Trenton's 9 hits.
The Thunder now lead the series 2-1, still needing just 1 win to advance to the finals. Game 4 is Saturday in Reading, with the pitching matchup pitting Trenton southpaw Caleb Smith against Reading righty Tyler Viza.
ADVANCED-A: Tampa takes a tumble Game 1 of the Florida State League Championship Series didn't go Tampa's way, as Bradenton cruised to an 8-1 victory to take an early lead in the best-of-5 championship tilt.
Bradenton scored single runs in the second, third, and fifth off starter Domingo German (5 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K) then added one in the seventh off newly-recalled Alex Bisacca (2.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K) before blitzing Bisacca and Eduardo Rivera (0.1 IP, 3 BB, 1 K) for four in the eighth to salt it away.
Tampa's lone run, meanwhile, came on Kevin Cornelius' solo HR in the 7th, and Cornelius was also the only runner to reach 3rd base otherwise, getting there with 2 outs in the 9th before Trey Amburgey lined out to end the game.
Game 2 will be Saturday night in Bradenton, with righty Luis Cedeno taking the hill against Marauders righty Austin Coley.
LOW-A: 'Dogs force a decider Like their big brothers in Trenton, Charleston now also needs just one more win to advance to championship play, their 4-3 win over Rome tying their South Atlantic League South Division Championship Series at 1-1 and forcing a deciding Game 3.
Charleston actually needed a late rally to get the job done, as Rome scored three runs off Daris Vargas before chasing him with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth. Taylor Widener shut the door on the Braves, though, getting out of the inning and allowing just one hit (while striking out six) over 4 1/3 innings, and the RiverDogs bailed him out in the seventh.
The 'Dogs batted around in that frame, using three walks and a Cesar Diaz RBI single to make it 3-1 and load the bases with one out. Vicente Conde followed with a two-run single to tie it, and two batters later, Charleston took a 4-3 lead when Rome third baseman Austin Riley made both a fielding and throwing error on the same Jhalan Jackson grounder, allowing Kyle Holder to scamper home from second with the winning run.
Widener and Andrew Schwaab (1 BB, 2 K in the ninth) then closed it out, and sent the series to a deciding fall. That Game 3 is Saturday in Charleston, with 'Dogs righty Christian Morris versus Braves southpaw Max Fried the scheduled pitching matchup.
SHORT SEASON A: So long, SI Yankees Staving off elimination was unfortunately not the fate of the Staten Island Yankees, whose 6-5 loss to State College in the deciding Game 3 of their NYPL semifinal moved the Spikes on to the championship round and officially ended the Yankees nickname era in Richmond County.
SI actually held a 3-2 lead heading into the seventh inning stretch, scoring three in that frame courtesy of RBI knocks from Dom Thompson-Williams, Nick Solak, and Timmy Robinson. However, State College scored four in the bottom of the inning off Chad Martin, and despite a late rally that saw the Yankees score twice in the eighth, SI couldn't push back ahead, and Welfrin Mateo's groundout to end the game went down as the last play in Staten Island Yankees history.
Simon de la Rosa started for SI, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out five in 4 2/3 innings, and Martin was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on four hits in two innings. Claudio Custodio, who was an infielder at the beginning of his career, ended up as the final pitcher in SI Yankees history, retiring all four batters he faced over the final 1 1/3 innings.
Offensively, Solak's eighth-inning RBI double was the last hit for the Yankees (with the last run scored by Angel Aguilar), and Timmy Robinson's ninth-inning walk brought the last baserunner. Solak was the only player to record more than one of the Yankees' 10 hits, going 4-for-5 with three doubles.
With Staten Island rebranding for 2017, the team that takes the field next June will, instead of Yankees, have a nickname chosen this fall from a group of five finalists, which include Heroes, Killer Bees, Rock Pigeons, Pizza Rats, and Bridge Trolls.
Baby Bombers Playoff Blog: Trenton advances but Charleston sent home on bittersweet Saturday
09/11/2016 12:20 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro
To upgrade a little on an old Meat Loaf lyric, for the New York Yankees' minor-league affiliates, perhaps three out of five ain't bad. That's the ratio of affiliates that will be playing for league championships, as the first Saturday of the minor-league postseason saw one more advance and one more get eliminated.
TRIPLE-A: Braves ahoy Scranton/Wilkes-Barre punched their finals ticket on Friday, but on Saturday, they found out their opponent: the Gwinnett Braves. Gwinnett defeated Columbus 5-4 on Saturday to win their semifinal series 3-1, and the best-of-five Governor's Cup Series between the RailRiders and G-Braves will begin Tuesday at PNC Field.
DOUBLE-A: And Trenton makes three The Trenton Thunder became the third set of Baby Bombers to advance to championship play, defeating the Reading Fightin Phils 3-2 on Saturday to win their Eastern League Eastern Division Championship Series 3games to 1.
Trenton got on the board first thanks to Dante Bichette Jr.'s second-inning solo HR, and after Reading tied it in the bottom of the frame, Tyler Wade scored on a throwing error in the 3rd to give the Thunder back a 2-1 lead.
Miguel Andujar's RBI double in the 5th made it 3-1, and from there, Trenton held on; Christian Marrero's RBI groundout in the 7th cut the lead to 3-2, but J.P. Feyereisen and Tyler Jones retired the final 7 Phils in order to close it out, Jones' strikeout of KC Serna punctuating the win.
Offensively, Trenton needed just 7 hits, with Andujar, Billy McKinney, and Dustin Fowler all notching two each and Bichette's HR capping the total. On the mound, Caleb Smith started and got the win, throwing 5 innings of 1 run ball and striking out 8. Travis Hissong was charged with the 2nd run, but in all, the trio of Hissong, Feyereisen, and Jones allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk and struck out 6 between them over the final 4 frames.
Trenton now awaits the winner of the Western Division Series between Akron and Altoona, which Akron leads 2-1. Game 4 of that series was rained out Saturday and will now be played Sunday, with Game 5 if necessary Monday, and the Eastern League Championship Series is scheduled to begin Tuesday. The Thunder will start that series on the road, with Games 3-5 if necessary in Trenton.
ADVANCED-A: Tampa ties it up The Florida State League Championship Series is now a virtual best-of-3, as the Tampa Yankees took a 5-4 win over Bradenton in Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.
Tampa got on the board right away thanks to Rashad Crawford's two-out RBI double in the first, and in the fourth, the T-Yanks plated three to take a 4-1 lead, surging ahead on Wes Wilson's RBI groundout and pushing it to 4-1 on Jorge Mateo's two-run single.
Single runs in the 4th, 5th and 6th for Bradenton tied it again, but in the 7th, Kevin Cornelius rapped a 2-out single to left to score what would be the winning run. Offensively, Cornelius was 1 of 4 T-Yanks with2 hits, joining Zack Zehner, Tito Polo, and Thairo Estrada, and Trey Amburgey was the only starter not to tally one of the team's 12 knocks.
On the mound, Luis Cedeno allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings, and Joe Harvey was charged with a blown save after allowing a run on 2 hits in two-thirds of an inning. Beyond that, though, it was nearly all zeroes, as winner Justin Kamplain, Jordan Foley, and Dillon McNamara retired 10 of the final 11, Foley's walk of Jordan Luplow in the eighth the only blemish.
Because of construction at Steinbrenner Field, Games 3, 4, and 5 (if necessary) will also be held at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, although the T-Yanks will be the home team. In Sunday's Game 3, they will send righty Yefrey Ramirez, who threw 7 innings of 1-run ball in Game 1 of the Division Series, to the mound, and Bradenton will counter with 2014 2nd-round pick Mitch Keller.
LOW-A: Dog day evening for Charleston Charleston's quest to earn their 1st-ever appearance in the South Atlantic League Championship Series fell 1 game short, as the Rome Braves topped the RiverDogs 4-1 on Saturday to win the Southern Division Championship Series by a tally of two games to one.
Hoy Jun Park rapped an RBI double in the 2nd to give Charleston a quick lead, but Rome tied it in the 3rd and added 3 in the 5th to take the 4-1 lead. The RiverDogs would bring the tying run to the plate with 2 outs in the 8th, but Luis Torrens flew out to end the inning, and Charleston went down 1-2-3 in the 9th.
Offensively, the RiverDogs had just 4 hits, 3 of which were doubles (by Park, Jhalan Jackson, and Kyle Holder). On the mound, Christian Morris was tagged with the loss, allowing all 4 runs on 6 hits in 4 1/3 innings, but Cody Carroll was spectacular in relief, throwing 3 2/3 innings of 1-hit shutout ball, and Anyelo Gomez was the season's final hurler in a scoreless 9th.
And so, the RiverDogs' season ends 1 game short of the finals, but they will close 2016 knowing they set a franchise record for attendance this season, and took home Charleston's 1st-ever playoff win in Game 2 on Friday night.
NEW YORK - The New York Yankees have apparently added another right-handed bat for the stretch run, with multiple sources reporting that the Yankees have agreed to a major-league deal with ex-Athletics DH/first baseman Billy Butler.
Sources: Billy Butler has Yankees deal.
- Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) September 15, 2016
Billy Butler tells me @JonHeyman report is accurate and he is joining the Yankees.
- Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 15, 2016
The Yankees had not, as of midnight Thursday, announced either the deal or a reciprocal 40-man roster move to accommodate Butler's addition.
Butler, 30, hit .276 with 4 HRs and 31 RBIs in 85 games with the Athletics this year, but he was released on Sept. 11th, less than 2 years into the 3-year, $30 million deal with Oakland prior to the 2015 season.
The Yankees, who are down a big right-handed bat after finding out Wednesday that outfielder Aaron Judge has a Grade 2 oblique strain and is likely to miss the rest of the regular season, would likely insert Butler into the starting lineup right away, as they are scheduled to face seven left-handed pitchers on their upcoming 11-game road trip.
The slugger, affectionately nickname "Country Breakfast," is a career .289 hitter with 146 homers in 10 seasons with the Royals and A's, and he owns a career .299 mark against southpaws.
Yankees' Starlin Castro, Jacoby Ellsbury exit Saturday's game with hamstring, patella injuries
09/17/2016 4:22 PM ET
By A.J. Herrmann
Starlin Castro exits Saturday's game with right hamstring strain.(AP)
In the 5th inning of the Yankees' afternoon tilt against the Boston Red Sox Saturday, second baseman Starlin Castro was removed after suffering a right hamstring strain.
The Yankees confirmed Castro would undergo further testing on the hamstring to determine the severity of the injury, and no timetable for his return has been issued.
Castro pulled up after rounding first base on a double into center field, hobbling his way into the bag and immediately exiting the game with Yankees trainers.
The 26-year-old infielder was in the midst of a red-hot stretch at the plate, entering play Saturday hitting .448 over his last eight games, after tallying his career-high 21st home run of the season on September 12.
If Castro is forced to miss a large portion of the remaining games on the schedule, the Yankees will likely slot super-utility spark plug Ronald Torreyes into the infield to take over. Rob Refsnyder also has 18 MLB games under his belt at 2nd base, and could serve as an option as well.
Additionally, Jacoby Ellsbury was removed from Saturday's game in the eighth inning with a right patella injury, after colliding into the center field wall on a sliding catch attempt earlier in the game. He will return to New York along with Castro to undergo further evaluations.
Stay tuned to YES Network for more updates on Ellsbury and Castro's respective injuries, as the Yankees' chase for a postseason berth continues.
Officially announced... Castro right hamstring strain. Will undergo further testing #yankees
- Meredith Marakovits (@M_Marakovits) September 17, 2016
Jacoby Ellsbury injured his right patella and is going to NYC for an MRI, Joe Girardi said. Starlin Castro "felt a pop," also going to NYC.
SWB RailRiders celebrate their Governors' Cup victory.(Twitter/@swbrailriders)
The 2 Yankees minor league affiliates still competing in postseason play were both in action Friday night, and one of them brought home championship hardware while the other didn't fare quite as well.
The Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders defeated the Gwinnett Braves to capture their second Governor's Cup Championship title in franchise history, and their 1st since 2008.
The Double-A Trenton Thunder, however, fell to the Akron RubberDucks in the 3rd and final game of the Eastern League Championship Series.
TRIPLE-A: RailRiders win the Governors' Cup! What better way to cap off an historic season than with back-to-back shutouts in the decisive games of the 2016 International League championship series. The RailRiders took care of business Friday night in Gwinnett, Ga., as they dispatched the G-Braves with a 3-0 win.
Making his first Triple-A start, RailRiders pitcher Dan Camarena held the Braves to no runs over 5 1/3 frames, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out four.
The 23-year-old lefty made 2 appearances for the Class-A Advanced Tampa Yankees, and two for the Triple-A RailRiders, but spent the bulk of his 2016 season in Double-A, going 9-6 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 appearances (22 starts) with the Trenton Thunder.
The RailRider runs came in the 5th and 7th innings, with a pair of SWB base runners touching home in the former. Mark Payton drove in Jake Cave - the eventual Governors' Cup Series MVP - to put the RailRiders ahead in the 5th, with Yankees top prospect Clint Frazier delivering the 2nd run of the inning with an RBI bloop single plating Cito Culver. Payton added the 3rd run with an RBI triple in the 7th to seal it for SWB.
Cave, 23, slashed .268/.330/.427 at both the Double- and Triple-A levels this season, collecting 43 extra-base hits, 8 HRs and 55 RBIs on the year. In Governors' Cup competition, Cave hit .308 (4-13) with 3 walks and 3 RBIs to earn MVP honors.
Here's video of the final out that gave the RailRiders the Governors' Cup championship. pic.twitter.com/Nibdhjbbi5
- Shane Hennigan (@RailRidersTT) September 17, 2016
DOUBLE-A: Trenton Thunder fall in final game of ELCS finals The Yankees' Double-A affiliate made out less successfully than their Triple-A brethren, losing to the Akron RubberDucks in a 3-game sweep. The Thunder fell 2-1 in the final game, but finished the 2016 season with 87 wins, good for 2nd-most in franchise history.
Thunder starter Justus Sheffield lasted 4 2/3 innings during which he allowed just 2 hits, but walked 4 and left the game after 83 pitches and just 45 strikes. The promising young lefty has been a revelation for the Yankees organization this year, after coming over from the Cleveland farm system in the Andrew Miller deal.
Sheffield's strikeout stuff is apparent, but he'll have to continue developing his command in order to keep progressing up the minor league food chain on his way to a potential Major League call-up in the future.
Sebastian Valle delivered the sole Thunder run on the evening with a 5th-inning solo homer, and J.P. Feyereisen continued his strong performance out of the bullpen, finishing the ELCS with 6 2/3 scoreless innings pitched and 12 strikeouts.
For the RailRiders, a championship bout with the winners of the Pacific Coast League championship awaits this coming Tuesday, September 20, at Autozone Park in Memphis, Tenn. The RailRiders will compete for the Triple-A National Championship, as they look to finish out a memorable 2016 season in victorious fashion.
We congratulate @swbrailriders on their International League Championship. We are very happy for all of our former players. #YankeesFamily.
- Trenton Thunder (@TrentonThunder) September 17, 2016
The Yankees have sold reliever Phil Coke to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations. He pitched for Scranton after making 3 appearences with the Yankees. He can become a MLB free agent at the end of the season.
The Kansas City Royals are releasing former Yankees C. Wang, who was used as a reliever this season.