Three home runs in the first inning helped spur the Yankees to a 14-1 drubbing of the Kansas City Royals yesterday, snapping a six-game losing streak.
But out of all of the numbers from last night’s game, the number two might have most to do with the long-term future for the Yankees. Two represents the number of Yankees who have made their major league debuts in the past week: outfielder Slade Heathcott and pitcher Jacob Lindgren.
However, these two players had two very different paths to the big leagues.
After hitting his first career home run in the seventh inning, there was only one thought going through Heathcott’s head. “Is this real?” Heathcott wondered as the ball was leaving the stadium. The dream almost did not become a reality for Heathcott, as he had a tough upbringing that included living out of a truck in high school and a stint in rehab after an alcohol problem. As the 29th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Heathcott struggled in the minor leagues and had to tackle multiple injuries to his shoulder and knee. His very future in Major League Baseball was in doubt.
“I’m just thankful,” Heathcott said after the game. “Everyone in my life that’s helped me to get where I am, had patience to deal with me in the past, and watched me mature and be here now.” He was called up last Tuesday to bolster the Yankees outfield corps after Jacoby Ellsbury’s injury. Since then, he has five hits in twelve major league at-bats and is slugging .750.
On the other end of the spectrum, Jacob Lindgren had no trouble reaching the big leagues. He became the second Yankee to make his debut less than a year after being drafted, joining long-time football star Deion Sanders.
The 2014 second round draft pick entered the game in the eighth inning with a runner on first base, and got Erick Hosmer to ground into a double play on his second pitch thrown in the pros. “It was good, cleared the bases,” said Lindgren. “Let me focus on the hitter.” Lindgren’s debut was stellar, as he struck out two of the seven batters he faced and allowed no runs.
Being that the Yankees are one of the oldest teams in the league, fans should be happy to see young faces get called up and produce.