Talk about a great debut by Zoilo Almonte.
The New York Yankees rookie has now started two games in his major league career and has made pitchers pay by hitting, well, everything.
The switch-hitting outfielder is now 5-for-8 in his career with a home run, three RBI, two walks, two runs scored and a strikeout. He's currently hitting .625.
Almonte made his debut on Wednesday in the second game of the doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He received just one at-bat pinch-hitting for Austin Romine in the ninth inning and grounded out to third.
He then got one at-bat in the first game of the series against the Tampa Bay Rays and recorded a single.
His next two appearances were both as the starting left fielder and No. 6 batter. Over those two games, he's 4-for-6 and has proven that he deserves to stay at the major league level.
Just a few weeks ago, uber-prospect Yasiel Puig made his debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The young outfielder lit up the San Diego Padres in his first two games, hitting two home runs, driving in five and hitting .625 (5-for-8). The two played against each other when the Dodgers played at Yankee Stadium on June 19.
Puig showed a little more pop and drove in a few more runs than Almonte has in his first two starts, but the difference in RBI doesn't really rest on Almonte's shoulders. He'd probably drive more runners in if the batters in front of him reached base, but that's exactly why he was brought up in the first place—the Yankees have been struggling offensively and needed a spark.
Almonte has started in place of Vernon Wells for two straight games, and that will likely continue being the case as long as Almonte keeps hitting the ball. Wells is 7-for-60 in June, and manager Joe Girardi has finally made the decision to give another outfielder a shot.
Almonte has made the most of his appearances so far, and he'll get plenty more opportunities in the coming weeks. Calling him the second coming of Puig may be unfair since he's nowhere near as big of a prospect as Puig was, but he's turning heads with a pace very similar to that of the Cuban star.
The Yankees didn't expect Almonte to be the driving force behind the offensive attack for each of the past two games, but they'll surely take the production from anywhere they can get it.
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