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Anthony Volpe shines again in Yankees’ 9-8 loss to Phillies, gets praise from Hal Steinbrenner

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Anthony Volpe has outplayed his competition this spring and that continued Wednesday afternoon in the Yankees’ 9-8 loss to the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. The 21-year-old top prospect went 1-for-2, including an RBI single off Gregory Soto, one of the best relievers in the game, with a stolen base and made a series of acrobatic defensive plays.

Volpe is slashing .333/.459/.667 with two home runs, four doubles and five stolen bases this spring. The New Jersey native has clearly been the better player and has gotten into the conversation to break camp with the Bombers despite not being on the 40-man roster.

“Whoever is the best fit and the best option and contributes the most to the team (is who I want shortstop to be),” Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said on YES Network after Wednesday’s game. “And right now I think that’s still up in the air. It’s been fun to watch…

“He is a really tough guy. Very professional, impeccable work ethic, everything you need to perform in New York, which we all know is a tough place to play any sport. He just has all those things. He behaves as if he’s been here five years…

“(Volpe is not on the 40-man list) is not something that is going to influence me one way or another. I want the best person there in that position on March 30.”

The other contenders in the shortstop competition are a few steps behind in terms of Grapefruit League performance. Oswald Peraza is 4-for-20 this spring and starter Isiah Kiner-Falefa is 5-for-22 and will start taking reps in the outfield as early as Friday against the Tigers.

The Yanks have been hyping a shortstop competition since the offseason, including general manager Brian Cashman’s reported phone call to Volpe to let him know he would be in the mix. Volpe has been the winner in a runaway contest with spring training winding down, however whether or not this was truly a contest remains to be seen.

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Luis Severino continued his poor spring on Wednesday afternoon.

The right-hander gave up four runs in 2.1 innings of work. Severino was pulled out of the first inning after working through a jam and throwing 30 pitches, but then pitched again the second and third innings for a total of 61 pitches.

Severino’s spring ERA is up to 10.64.

“First inning, the fastball was a little wild,” Severino said. “A couple of walks there, I couldn’t finish that inning, but after that I had a chance to regroup and I did a great job. I was just thanking God that it’s spring training. It was terrible. My fastball life was really good, it’s just that the placement on that first inning was all over the place…

“I feel great, I feel healthy. I think (this is the best I’ve ever felt) since 2017 or 2018, being healthy in spring training, I need to work on the pitching and not worry about my arm or my health, so right now I’m happy where I am. .”

Severino made 19 starts for the Bombers last season. The 29-year-old posted a 3.18 ERA in his first full season back from Tommy John Surgery.

The Yankees will face the Pirates on Thursday afternoon in Tampa.

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