Soto Sono Buoni

Tampa, Fla., February 26, 2024; Yankees 9, Twins 2 — Although the Yankee offense got off to a sluggish start in their game hosting the Twins Monday afternoon, they came roaring back to win. And newly acquired Juan Soto provided the spark that got them going.

And that was not the only good news emerging from this 9-2 victory. Coming off injury, southpaw Nestor Cortes got the start and pitched effectively, though he fell behind 2-0 with one out in the third. The second run scored on a hotshot down third that had fans briefly worried. Third baseman DJ LeMahieu, who is coming off two years of injury of his own, took the ball off his glove and then into his face. He lay prone facedown in the infield for a few moments, but he bounced back ready to play once checked by manager Aaron Boone and a trainer. And he followed Ben Rortvedt’s one-out single to left in the home third with one of his own to right.

Soto, up next, wasted no time, blasting a two-run double to right center, not far off from where his three-run, game-changing home run landed on Sunday. The 2-2 tie thus forged would stand until the fifth, when Jace Avina, in at right and in the second spot in the order for Soto, followed Juan’s two-base hit with two of his own. This first would score Rortvedt, on second base with his second single and a wild pitch. Gleyber Torres’s ensuing single gave the home team a 4-2 lead, for Gleyber’s last significant contribution of the day. It followed a run-saving dive, catch, and throw to first to deny Minnesota a run in the top of the inning.

Young pitching carried the Yanks the rest of the way, with righthanders Cody Poteet and Cody Morris, and lefty Oddanier Mosqueda surrendering just two hits and three walks while shutting down the Twins over the final six innings. Avina’s second double and an infield error got a five-run home seventh inning uprising started, with second baseman Jorbit Vivas closing it with a three-run bomb, his second home run in as many games. Acquired as a seeming throw-in when the Yanks sent shortstop Trey Sweeney to the Dodgers for southpaw reliever Victor Gonzalez in December, Vivas is turning a few heads in camp.

But whether Vivas’s remarkable start continues or not, the big news in this win was the play of Cortes and LeMahieu, both key players coming back from injury. Nasty Nestor threw harder than at any time in 2023, and he struck out four while throwing 48 pitches. And DJ looked fluid at third and came through with a key base hit.

But bigger news than those two successes was the offense of Juan Soto, displaying itself as advertised through his first two games here. Decades ago, when some older Yankee fans were watching the team on channel 11 in New York, a company that often advertised on the broadcasts was Ronzoni pasta. It’s hard not to remember and smile at their tag line: “Ronzoni Sono Buoni, Ronzoni is so good.”

Two games into his first Yankee Spring Training campaign, say it with me together. “Soto Sono Buoni.”