The day after the New York Yankees designated Thairo Estrada for assignment, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders manager Doug Davis said he selfishly hoped the infielder would clear waivers and come back to the organization. Davis added, however, that he “very much” doubted that would happen.
On Sunday, the Yankees traded Estrada to the San Francisco Giants for cash considerations.
Estrada spent parts of two seasons with the RailRiders and was a pretty good bet to be in their starting lineup May 4. In 2019, he batted .266/.313/.452 in 60 games with SWB, with 27 extra-base hits. He played shortstop, second base and third base with them.
“Thairo was great,” Davis said Wednesday of Estrada’s reaction to being DFA’d. “I mean, he, he understands that potentially, this is a really good opportunity for him. You know, what’s difficult about these situations, is Thairo grew up in this organization. He is a quality young man, a terrific baseball player. Everybody loves him. It’s almost harder for us as staff to see players like, things like this happened to players because we get close to guys and he’s been very close to a lot of the coaches in this organization. I know he got a lot of phone calls and people just wishing him well.”
Thairo Estrada pokes a two-run double in the first inning off David Parkinson. Got in the wind a bit and Scott Kingery got turned around in center. pic.twitter.com/RXfoSTpKJL
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) April 6, 2021
Some more notes from the alternate site:
The Alt-Yankees were scheduled to play the Alt-Phillies 18 times in April — then Sunday’s game at PNC Field was rained out — before the RailRiders face Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia’s Triple-A affiliate, 36 times in the regular season.
“It will be very interesting, in my opinion, how players and pitchers adjust, because, you know, both teams are going to know everything, everything they could possibly know about each, each player, each pitcher,” Davis said. “So it’ll be interesting to see who is able to take the most advantage of those situations.”
At least right now, these games are pretty informal. Rolled innings, 10-batter lineups, two or one or zero umpires — that kind of stuff. Davis said health is the focus right now, and he’s not trying to put any player in a risky position with plays at the plate or hard slides into bases. Maybe that ramps up as the minor league season draws closer, but for now, it’s essentially spring training in Moosic.
The squads meet for three games this week: Wednesday and Thursday at PNC Field, then Saturday in Allentown, which will include fans allowed in the IronPigs’ park for the first time, and it looks like tickets are still available.
The Phillies’ roster includes familiar names like utilityman Scott Kingery, outfielder Odúbel Herrera, pitchers Bryan Mitchell, Enyel De Los Santos and Neftalí Feliz. It also has 13 of the team’s top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com: pitchers Spencer Howard (No. 1), Franklin Morales (No. 4), Adonis Medina (No. 11), Damon Jones (No. 14), JoJo Romero (No. 15), Mauricio Llovera (No. 18), Ramón Rosso (No. 21), Cristopher Sánchez (No. 25) and Kyle Dohy (No. 27); catchers Rafael Marchán (No. 5) and Rodolfo Durán (No. 20); infielder Nick Maton (No. 19); and outfielder Mickey Moniak (No. 12), the top overall pick in 2016.
Warren getting closer?
Adam Warren’s spring training hit a bump when he was shut down with shoulder soreness. The 33-year-old righty was already working his way back from Tommy John surgery in September 2019.
Warren threw a bullpen at the alt site Friday, but it wasn’t a standard bullpen. It looked like his mechanics were getting special attention. He’d throw a pitch with one of the pitching coaches videoing his windup, then they’d stop and break it down.
“He’s almost ready to start active actively pitching in games,” Davis said Wednesday. “I mean, I’m not sure when that’s going to happen, but he’s getting close. And he looks good. I’ve talked to him and he feels very good. He’s been through this before. He’s a veteran. He knows that he knows himself. So when he says it’s time to go and he’s ready to go, they’ll get him activated.”
Adam Warren threw a bullpen at the alt site Friday. pic.twitter.com/JnoGCZhsP0
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) April 11, 2021
Warren made a quick rehab appearance with the RailRiders in 2018, but he hasn’t been a full-fledged member of the team since 2012, when the club spent the entire season on the road while PNC Field was renovated.
What’s Deivi doing?
Most recently, Deivi García threw three innings Friday in an intrasquad game, keeping him on regular starter’s schedule. He faced teammates Armando Alvarez, Trey Amburgey, Socrates Brito and Greg Allen, threw 51 pitches, got five swings and misses, struck out one, walked one and gave up five hits (two doubles).
That followed up an April 4 start against the Phillies, where he got 10 outs over five ups — they rolled several innings that game. His line: 3 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts. He threw 73 pitches that day against a lineup that included Scott Kingery, Mickey Moniak and Odúbel Herrera at the top.
Catcher Max McDowell is calling balls and strikes. Originally went strike with Deivi Garcia’s second pitch, then last minute changed it to a ball. Deivi worked back from 3-0 to strike out leadoff hitter Scott Kingery. pic.twitter.com/ILj3LVoKHn
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) April 4, 2021
What’s Gil doing?
Luis Gil, the Yankees’ No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America, pitched his second game of the Alt-Season on Saturday against the Phillies. His line: 1.2 innings, 3 hits (all doubles), 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts and 1 hit batter. Seemed to struggle with his fastball command a bit, but the velocity looked good. Saw plenty of 95s and 96s pop up on a scout’s radar gun.
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) April 10, 2021
Gil did bump up his pitch count to 37 after throwing 30 pitches April 6, so not quite a starter’s layoff for him between outings. In his first game against the Phillies, the pitch count was so strict that they rolled his last inning mid at-bat.
After a six-pitch walk by Nick Maton — Gil tried a 3-2 breaker and miss — Gil gets Odúbel Herrera to chase some high heat for his second strikeout. Inning rolled after that. 16 pitches for Gil. pic.twitter.com/8sVOq5lQ1S
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) April 6, 2021
“He’s young and he’s just working on his pitches,” Davis said Saturday. “He’s working on the stuff. He’s trying to build off of what he was doing in spring training. He throws the ball very hard. I mean, he’s just got such a powerful arm. And, you know, he’s trying to improve his command. But he’s also on top of it, trying to utilize all his pitches. And when he started throwing the slider a little bit, he threw some very good sliders that kind of got him back in the strike zone. He was able to, I think, accomplish the things that he wanted to do out there. We bumped him up about 10 pitches, I think from his last outing. So that was the main accomplishment with today.”
Conor Foley goes beyond the box score with in-depth coverage of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. He has worked at The Times-Tribune since graduating from University of Scranton in 2011, and he has covered the RailRiders since 2017. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9125; or @railridersTT