Tough night for Gr-EEE-ne

Watching Shane Greene on the mound Monday night made one wonder how much PFP is done in the minor leagues. PFP stands for pitchers’ fielding practice, an exercise dreaded by hurlers, especially during the heat of spring training.

It is pretty boring stuff, too, but there are times when pitchers are reminded why fielding their position is important. Greene, who has done a terrific job since his recall from Triple A Scranton, had a rough time of it in the third and fourth innings and was charged with three errors. That’s three Es for a guy with three of them in his last name.

Two of the misplays came in the second inning, but he escaped without damage. Greene dropped a feed from first baseman Kelly Johnson that allowed Leonys Martin to reach first base. With two out, Greene fielding a pepper shot by Jim Adduci , but his under-handed toss sailed over Johnson’s head. That put runners on second and third, but Greene redeemed himself by striking out Geovanny Soto.

An error cost the Yankees a run in the third, but this one was by Brian Roberts. With runners on first and third with one out, the second baseman dropped shortstop Derek Jeter’s throw that might have started a double play but instead allowed the runner from third to score. Again, Greene got a strikeout to minimize the damage and end the inning.

With two out in the fourth, Greene was at it again throwing to first base as if 6-foot-8 Dellin Betances was the fielder there. Greene fielded a dribbler by Soto and threw another sailer well out of Johnson’s reach. When Rougned Odor hit a tapper to the mound, the crowd roared its approval when Greene ran toward first base and made an accurate toss to Johnson for the final out.

It took five innings for the Yankees’ hits to catch up with their errors. Jacoby Ellsbury’s eighth home run of the season, a solo shot leading off the fourth against Texas starter Miles Mikolas, was only the Yankees’ second hit. They got to four to match their errors with singles by Francisco Cervelli and Zelous Wheeler. A walk to Brett Gardner loaded the bases, but Jeter grounded into a double play.

If many of those Rangers names seem strange, well, that is because so many of their regulars are injured. Texas has already had 51 different players, including 30 pitchers, on its roster this year. Both figures are records for prior to the All-Star break. The Rangers have sunk to the bottom of the American League West by losing 24 of their previous 28 games.

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