OK, so maybe it’s a small sample size, but the Yankees topped the Marlins 10-8 in the first major league game played at Marlins Ballpark on Sunday.
With the roof closed on an 85-degree day, Derek Jeter lined the very first pitch of the game from Ricky Nolasco into right field for a double, setting the tone for the day. There were 26 hits in all, including the first homers of the spring for the Yankees’ Nick Swisher and the Marlins’ Gaby Sanchez.
Fortunately, the nightmare sculpture in center field, which will open a portal to Hell for 15 seconds with each Marlins homer during the regular season, wasn’t operational for this one.
Apart from that, the new park received mostly positive reviews, though one player wasn’t so happy with his day at the beach: “That infield out there is like running in sand,” Swisher said after the game.
Expectations were that the park would suit pitchers better than hitters, particularly with the roof closed, as it’s expected to be most of the time. But while that still might the case, it certainly didn’t hold true today. CC Sabathia gave up three runs in his four innings of work, and Mariano Rivera, pitching the fifth, allowed a run in a spring training game for the first time since 2008.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.