ST. PETERSBURGH, Fla. — Tuesday morning, as he headed to the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa with plans to follow the Class-A Tarpons to Lakeland for a game later, Mario Garza was called with a change of plans. The Yankees’ head of player development told him he was getting an emergency call-up.
“When I woke up the plan was to head to the complex and watch the extended spring training day and then head over to Lakeland to watch our Tampa Tarpons play,” Garza said. “So is it quite the change of events.”
Garza coached first base Tuesday night and was expected to continue there as the Yankees dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak among their coaching and support staff. First- and third-base coaches Reggie Willits and Phil Nevin, and pitching coach Matt Blake, are all in quarantine with confirmed breakthrough cases, meaning they were all vaccinated but still tested positive. Aaron Boone said Wednesday that of the seven confirmed cases, six are asymptomatic.
“A couple different times last night I tried to just kind of stop and just soak it in and just kind of look around,” Garza admitted. “For the most part, I mean, I would say the game was pretty quick because there’s just a lot of information that I’m trying to absorb in a short time and really just trying to do the best job for the team.
“I really appreciate all the support and help that (Boone) (bench coach Carlos Mendoza) and Reggie gave me,” Garza said. “I mean, it’s been really good so far. So yes, I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can, while maintaining, you know, the professionalism helping our team.”
In his normal role with the organization, Garza oversees the development of young players. He was running the Yankees’ complex in the Dominican Republic when they signed phenom Jasson Dominguez, who showed off his offensive skills at the complex Wednesday morning.
“When he first signed, I was down in the Dominican Republic at the time, and so I have been around him for some time now. And he’s as advertised,” Garza said. “He’s very professional. He’s very advanced for his age and he’s been nothing but spectacular to work with. And you know, as a person and a player.”
Dominguez was left behind in extended spring training when the minor-league seasons started because he is still just 18 and can benefit from more individual development, the team explained. Garza said that Dominguez and the rest of the rookies in extended spring will start playing in what was formerly known as the Gulf Coast League June 28.
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When Dominguez makes his pro debut, Garza said fans will be impressed.
“He’s just, he’s extremely talented, first of all, and extremely mature,” Garza said. “So obviously, it takes more than just a talented player to garner that type of respect and in the international market, and so on the field and off. When I say as advertised, I think he’s very mature, both skill wise, and also as a person, I mean, his at-bats are very mature. Physically, he’s very mature.”
Luis Severino, who was supposed to face hitters for the first time since Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, was scratched after waking up with a sore back. The Yankees expect him to throw to hitters today.
Severino had the surgery in March 2020 and is expected back in June or July.
Luke Voit was back in the lineup Wednesday night, his second straight game since returning from the injured list after surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his left knee.
“He was good to go, but we’ll even keep it fluid and see where we’re going (today),” Aaron Boone said. .”Obviously Tuesday, I got him out of there for the final two innings on defense. So it’ll continue to be kind of a day-by-day situation. I wouldn’t rule out tomorrow for him being out of there. But we’ll just see we’ll kind of try and get through today and see where we’re at.”
Clint Frazier earned his first career ejection arguing a called third strike with home plate umpire Bill Miller. That was not the most helpful situation with the Yankees already playing down a man with Gleyber Torres being held out.
“Obviously playing a man short tonight. That’s not ideal,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ll just leave it at that.”
The veteran umpire’s strike zone was irritating both dugouts Wednesday night and earlier in the night, Giancarlo Stanton, who has never been ejected, had a long talk with Miller after a called third strike in the fourth. Frazier turned back to face Miller emphasizing whatever he said with his hands when Miller tossed him. Aaron Boone, who is without three of his coaches because of the COVID-19 outbreak, came out to argue but kept it short, considering the Bombers are already short in the dugout.