CHARLESTON, S.C. - A flamethrower at the backend of a dominant RiverDogs bullpen, Charleston closer Anyelo Gomez piled up the strikeouts to punch his ticket to Tampa, becoming the second member of the RiverDogs staff to join the New York Yankees' High-A affiliate.
The 24-year-old Dominican right-hander piled up 23 strikeouts in 14 frames to the begin the season while issuing just four walks. The native of Cotui in the D.R. accrued a 1.93 ERA while converting all seven of his save opportunities that is tied for the league lead in his second stint with the RiverDogs to join Albert Abreu as the second hurler to get the call from Charleston to the T-Yanks.
"It's a comforting feeling knowing that he's out there and available," said RiverDogs manager Patrick Osborn of his closer last night after Gomez logged his seventh save with three strikeouts in the ninth. "That's what you like to see at the back of the bullpen, guys that can miss bats and get outs without the ball being put in play…Having a guy like that in the bullpen is a luxury."
Replacing Gomez on the RiverDogs staff, righty Raynel Espinal rejoins Charleston after being reassigned to extended spring training last week.
In 2016 with the RiverDogs, Gomez split time between the rotation and the bullpen, posting dominant numbers as a reliever. He logged a 1-0 record with a 0.72 ERA in 37.1 innings out of the pen while going 3-3 with a 7.85 ERA in nine starts spanning 39 innings pitched.
In another pair of moves from New York, outfielder Leonardo Molina was assigned to extended spring training, and outfielder Ben Ruta, the Yankees' 30th round pick in the 2016 draft, receives the call up to Charleston.
A product of Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., Ruta will make his Class A debut with the RiverDogs after spending his first pro season split between rookie ball Pulaski and Short Season Staten Island. In his first pro season, the West Windsor, N.J. native hit .202 with his first two professional home runs and 17 RBI in 38 games between the two levels. Prior to his professional career, Ruta was a two-time First Team All-Northeast Conference selection with the Seahawks, batting .333 with four homers, 33 doubles, and 88 RBI in 146 games while posting nearly as many walks as strikeouts (62:69).
With their retooled roster, The RiverDogs wrap up their weeklong homestand with a game four contest against Delmarva at 7:05pm on Monday night at The Joe. RHP Freicer Perez (0-1, 5.21) will toe the rubber for Charleston, opposed by LHP Alex Wells (2-1, 1.11). The game will be broadcast on WTMA 1250 AM as well as online streaming on riverdogs.com and the TuneIn Radio app under the "Charleston RiverDogs" station.
RiverDogs tickets, including options for the all-new Riley Park Club, are now available and can be secured by contacting the box office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com. Those that can't make it to the park can follow every pitch of the RiverDogs season on WTMA 1250 AM in the tri-county area or by streaming online at riverdogs.com and the TuneIn Radio App by searching "RiverDogs."