BRADENTON, Fla. — As first impressions go, for Anthony Volpe, it was a good one.
The 20-year-old, the crown jewel of the Yankees’ farm system when it comes to position prospects — along with fellow shortstop Oswald Peraza — made his big-league spring training debut in the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Pirates on Friday afternoon and looked right at home.
Volpe — the club’s first-round pick (30th overall) in 2019 out of Delbarton High School in Morristown, New Jersey, and tabbed to start this season with Double-A Somerset — pinch ran for the 2022 shortstop, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, in the fifth. He struck out looking to end the seventh but looked more than comfortable in the field.
He niftily handled Liover Peguero’s chopper to start the bottom of the seventh and took care of Bligh Madris on a pop-up. Then he started an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play in the eighth, going to one knee to field a one-hop smash hit by Hunter Owen.
"It’s an awesome learning experience," Volpe said. "I think just being in the dugout the first couple innings, when I wasn’t even playing, just trying to be a sponge, keep my ears as open as I can. I learned a lot today."
Speaking of first impressions
Kiner-Falefa led off the game and doubled to start a 2-for-3 afternoon, then cleanly handled both balls hit his way in the bottom of the inning. He hit a line-drive seed that was caught in center in his second at-bat and singled in the third.
"The moment I put that jersey on, I had goose bumps," said Kiner-Falefa, who grew up a Yankees fan (his favorite player, not surprisingly, was Derek Jeter). "I couldn’t sleep last night. It was so nerve-wracking for me because first day, first impression. And going out on the field and hearing our fans, we had more fans than them, it gave me a confidence I’ve never felt before."