Peraza still in Yankees' plans after being edged out for job

March 27th, 2023

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees officials expressed confidence in shortstop a day after the team announced that its No. 3 prospect would be sent to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start the season.

"We still think he's going to have a long big league career as a shortstop," manager Aaron Boone said. "Our message is to go handle your business down there. Go work and get better each and every day. The situation can change quickly."

Peraza provided a jolt of energy to the Yankees when he was called up last Sept. 1. He had a slash line of .306/.404/.429 in 18 games after going .259/.329/.448 with 19 home runs and 33 stolen bases in 99 games at Triple-A.

The 22-year-old Peraza was competing to be the Yankees’ Opening Day shortstop. , New York's top prospect, was announced as the starter Sunday.

General manager Brian Cashman said it was clear that Volpe had taken control in the competition, and the Yankees expect him to handle the position long term. Cashman also believes that Peraza will continue to work hard and be ready when the time comes.

"I know he's going to go down there and dominate," Cashman said. "He just needs to wait for an opportunity to open up or force his way back up. He has a great deal of ability we still believe in. There was only one spot available. … We let the best man win, and Anthony Volpe took it."

Peraza said he felt like he did what was asked of him in camp, and he will take those lessons with him to Triple-A.

"I felt really good in camp. … Defensively, I felt like [I was in] the right place at the right time when making plays," Peraza said. "The key is continuous work. I feel like I've made some adjustments or worked with our coaches here, and I find myself in a good spot as well."

Whether Peraza's future is at shortstop could depend on Volpe’s success. Cashman did not rule out Peraza eventually changing positions, or at least getting work at other infield positions with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"When you get to this level now … I mean, Peraza is a shortstop," Cashman said. "But I do think that making sure we do have some flexibility with him will benefit us."

Volpe named top rookie in camp
The Yankees announced that Volpe received the 2023 James P. Dawson Award, given annually to the most outstanding rookie in Spring Training.

Volpe, 21, hit .302/.413/.623 with three home runs, six doubles, five stolen bases, five RBIs and 13 runs scored in 18 spring games to earn the starting shortstop job.

"He knows for better or worse we're committed to letting him handle that position, and we think he's not going to let us down," Cashman said. "We think he's going to do really well for us in the short term and in the long term."

On the hunt for pitching
Cashman said that the Yankees can't afford any more injuries to their starting rotation. He may have to look outside the organization to find another pitcher if it comes to that.

"It's possible," Cashman said. "It's hard to pull off anything, but you have to go through the motions and see if it's possible."

(left elbow strain) and  (right lat strain) are expected to start the season on the injured list. Severino will likely miss three or four starts.

had right shoulder surgery on Feb. 21 that will keep him out for several months.

"We've had to cash in on some insurance policies on that starting depth right now," Cashman said. "We can't really afford to take on too many more injuries at that position until some of these guys get back."

Schmidt sharp in final spring outing
struck out seven over 4 1/3 innings in the Yankees’ 8-4 victory over the Rays at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Monday, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk in his final start of the spring. Schmidt threw 66 pitches, 48 for strikes.

"This might have been my best stuff in camp as far as location, command-wise," Schmidt said. "I was very encouraged by that. I lost a little gas there at the end, but that's part of Spring Training, being able to build up the pitch count. I'm really happy with the work today.”

Schmidt is scheduled to make his first start of the regular season Saturday against the Giants at Yankee Stadium.