A lot going on at PNC Field today. It’s the home opener. The in-state rival Lehigh Valley IronPigs are in town. There’s going to be a pregame ceremony to honor the RailRiders’ 2016 championship season. And oh yeah, there’s been some moves, including a big one in particular.
Let’s get into it starting with the starting lineups:
Tyler Wade 2B
Clint Frazier LF
Dustin Fowler DH
Rob Refsnyder RF
Donovan Solano 3B
Mason Williams CF
Ruben Tejada SS
Ji-Man Choi 1B
Eddy Rodriguez C
Luis Cessa RHP
Lehigh Valley (2-2)
Cameron Perkins CF
J.P. Crawford SS
Jorge Alfaro C
Dylan Cozens LF
Rhys Hoskins 1B
Nick Williams RF
Taylor Featherston 3B
Hector Gomez DH
Jesmuel Valentin 2B
Mark Appel RHP
It turns out that the Yankees aren’t going to wait until Sunday to use a fifth starter after all. Manager Joe Girardi just announced that Jordan Montgomery has won the competition and will make his major league debut Wednesday night against Tampa Bay, thus pushing back everyone else’s start by a day.
Montgomery had been slated to start for the RailRiders tomorrow night and was in the outfield getting ready to shag fly balls during batting practice before departing as it was beginning, which leads me to believe he just found out, as well.
That start will now go to Chad Green, who was officially transferred to the RailRiders from Double-A Trenton. It’s funny, Green was in the clubhouse when it was open from 2-3:15 p.m. and he said that he was pitching for the RailRiders Tuesday but didn’t know when. Sidenote: His locker and Montgomery’s are right next to each other inside the clubhouse.
So in the end, Montgomery will pitch for the Yankees without having made a start in Triple-A this season. Montgomery was supposed to be the RailRiders’ Opening Day starter but that outing was moved to High-A Tampa after inclement weather postponed the first two games of the RailRiders’ season last Thursday and Friday.
Girardi also announced that starting catcher Gary Sanchez will miss four weeks with a Grade 1 strain of his right brachialis muscle, which is located behind his right biceps. Figure it could be a lot worse. For the time being, the Yankees will go with the tandem of Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka, who made his MLB debut in the ninth inning today.
I don’t envision a scenario where the Yankees would trade for a catcher. It just wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, especially with Sanchez expected to be back next month, to trade for a temporary starting catcher. Romine and Higashioka aren’t Sanchez, but they are more than capable of getting the job done.
The Yankees also optioned Chasen Shreve to the RailRiders following today’s game. Whenever he arrives, the RailRiders will have to make a corresponding move given that they currently stand at 25 guys.
Shreve made two appearances at Tampa Bay last week and threw two shutout innings and allowed two hits and two walks. Figure he’ll bounce back and forth from New York to Scranton quite a bit this season.
There are some notable changes inside PNC Field but the one that really sticks out to me is the addition of protective netting along both dugouts. I think that’s absolutely the right move on the RailRiders’ part, given the concern of fan safety in stadiums these days. I’m very interested to see how many batted balls the net will knock down over the course of the season.