MOOSIC — Jake Cave spent parts of each of the last three seasons with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
So when he arrived at PNC Field on Thursday, one of his first stops was his old clubhouse, where he received a warm welcome from his former teammates.
But after a massive rain and hail storm during the 5 and 6 o’clock hours, Thursday’s tilt between the RailRiders and Cave’s new team, the Rochester Red Wings, was postponed. Now Cave will have to wait one more day to play his former squad.
At least he’ll get to make up for lost time, playing a pair of games on Friday, with a doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m.
“This was my home parts of the last two, parts of three years, so it’s neat to be back,” Cave said. “It was neat to go into the clubhouse and see all of the guys. It was cool to have a warm welcome from those guys. I missed them. It’s cool go out there and take (batting practice) and get ready to go. It will be cooler to go out there and get ready to go. I’m looking forward to it.”
Despite being designated for assignment and then traded to the Minnesota Twins organization during spring training, Cave still keeps tabs on all of his friends and former teammates.
He admits it’s hard to not watch what the Yankees are doing — winners of 17 of their last 18 games. Not to mention, he’s still close with guys like Aaron Judge and Billy McKinney and he played with up-and-comers Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres last season with the RailRiders.
“I get to watch Andujar, I get to watch Torres. Billy got up there. I’m really close with McKinney,” Cave said. “Of course I’m going to watch those guys. It’s a fun team to watch. Even if you’re not a Yankee fan, to be able to watch what they’re doing all of the time has to be pretty cool to see for the sport. They’re bringing in a lot of fans.
“Talk to Judge pretty regularly. So it’s cool to talk to those guys.”
Even though “it’s baseball,” Cave admits changing organizations was a little more difficult than he expected. And it showed in his stats early on.
The 25-year-old outfielder batted .188 in 18 April games before turning it around this month. Batting .324 over the last nine games, Cave has bumped his season-long batting average up 48 percentage points.
“It’s different obviously. It’s different to be around guys you’ve never played with before and to be around coaches that you’ve never played for before, but I feel like I’m in a groove now,” Cave said. “It took a little bit of adjusting, but that’s no excuse. I didn’t really play well to start. But that’s OK. I was playing hard. I was running everything hard. I was playing to the best of my ability.
“That’s all I can do, and I think I’m starting to reap some benefits of that as of late. It feels good.”
And when Cave digs into the batter’s box for the first time on Friday, he’ll have a new look, too.
He was sporting a beard for the first time in his professional career.
“Yeah, you can’t leave the Yankees and stay clean-shaven, you know?” Cave said. “I’m not going to let it get too out of hand, but I have to keep a little bit of facial hair going.”
With the rainout on Thursday, LHP Justus Sheffield will pitch the first game of the doubleheader with LHP Josh Rogers pitching the nightcap. … INF Thairo Estrada was placed on the 7-day DL with a wrist injury on Wednesday, which is retroactive to Tuesday. … RHP Giovanny Gallegos was activated off of the 7-day DL on Thursday. He had been out with a groin and back injury.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle