Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stephen Voget Powers A's into 1st Place in Cactus League; Ramon Flores Hits Walk-Off Homer, Sends Yanks to Top of Grapefruit

Players of the Day for Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Grapefruit League

Ramon Flores
There may still be some magic in being a Yankee, despite the retirement of Derek Jeter and the controversy that will never end surrounding performance-enhancers and Alex Rodriguez.

All will be forgotten and forgiven if the Yankees perform as they did Tuesday, scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth - the final three on a home run by Ramon Flores - to down the Detroit Tigers, 9-8.

New York was down 8-2 when Flores entered the game as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the seventh, eventually scoring to make it 8-3, but his moment was still to come as the Yankee bullpen kept the Tigers in check over the final two innings.

After John Ryan Murphy knocked in Aaron Judge to make it 8-6, Flores got to the plate with two on and two out and delivered the crushing blow off Tiger reliever Rafael Dolis, making the round-trip to a throng of teammates celebrating at home plate.

While Flores is expected to stay at the AAA level most of this season, he could get some playing time in the thin Yankee outfield. In any case, his dramatic blow put the Yankees into first place in the Grapefruit League with a 12-7 mark, 1/2 game better than the Toronto Blue Jays, who lost to the Twins, 6-5.

Cactus League

Stephen Vogt
Following the limited successes of their 2014 season, the Oakland A's are quickly gearing up for competition in what should be a very competitive AL West division.

The A's went 88-74 last year, finishing 10 games behind the Angels in the division, but still managed to make it into the post-season as a wild card. As Fall turned to Winter and Winter to Spring, the A's now find themselves in a three-way tie atop the Cactus League - with Kansas City and the Dodgers - after piling on for 18 hits against the Cubs in a 14-2 romp.

Stephen Vogt, who is likely to be the A's regular receiver when during the 2015 campaign, powered Oakland's attack with a 3-for-3 effort, singling, doubling and homering, with three RBI and a pair of runs.

Last year, Vogt saw action in 84 games, batting .279 with nine homers and 35 RBI.

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