Adam Warren ready for the challenge
CC Sabathia landing on the disabled list on Wednesday began a chain of events that would bring Adam Warren to Yankee Stadium for the first time as an active Major League ballplayer. Sabathia’s Grade 1 groin strain bumped him from his Friday night start against the White Sox. Freddy Garcia was the original chosen one to take his place, but with the Chief working sporadically in relief, the Yankees needed another long man. That’s when Brian Cashman contacted Warren’s agent, who relayed a head’s up to the 24-year-old right-hander about the possibility of packing his bags for the Bronx.
About an hour or so later, Casey Kotchman’s line drive broke Andy Pettitte’s fibula. The Yankees were suddenly not down one starter, but two – and their two best ones. Once Garcia was pressed into relief the deal was sealed. Garcia would be bumped to Monday against the Rays, and what was Sabathia’s scheduled start now belongs to the unsigned 2008 draft pick of the Indians (he returned to North Carolina for his senior season) and the Yankees’ fourth-round selection in 2009.
While Warren threw a bullpen session, Triple-A Scranton pitching coach Scott Aldred told him what was speculation had become official.
"It's hard to put into words how excited I am,” said Warren, who will wear No. 43. "This has been a dream of mine for so long. Just to be here, to be in the clubhouse right now, it's pretty neat. I'm just trying to soak it up and have fun."
In the Yankees prospect hierarchy, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances rank 1 and 1A. However, Banuelos is hurt and Betances was recently demoted to Double-A Trenton. The next tier consists of three more homegrown arms, Warren, David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell. The latter two have each worn pinstripes this season, with Phelps called up on Friday after being stretched out at Class-A Tampa. Phelps seems to be the preferred choice to start for as long as it takes, but right now the door is open for Warren, who spent the last two Spring Trainings with the big club and impressed along the way.
“I don’t feel like I’m meeting a bunch of people; I feel like I’m seeing them again,” Warren said. “It definitely helps. I feel a lot more comfortable coming in here knowing a lot of the guys. It’s made that transition pretty easy.”
After a slow start in Triple-A, Warren arrives having pitched three shutouts over his last five starts and an overall record of 5-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 15 starts. He explained how he tried to do too much and was out of rhythm, and to correct it he fixed some things mechanically and focused on his mental game. To help Warren get acclimated to the Majors, the Yankees decided to activate him one day before his debut in order to slow down and experience new surroundings.
“We got him here today thinking that he can get used to his surroundings, relax a bit, watch the game and feel the atmosphere before he goes out there tomorrow,” Girardi said. “I did talk to him and congratulate him for being called up. When you see a young guy come up, enjoy the moment. Take a second to realize where you are, what you’ve accomplished and your opportunity here. And then just go to work.”
Girardi knows what Warren is capable of doing, having seen him pitch well in a Spring Training start against the Red Sox. While Girardi eventually took Phelps up north, Warren took confidence into his season.
“It wasn’t where he just saw right-handed hitters – he saw pretty much their full lineup,” Girardi said. “I thought he pitched down in the zone, I thought he pitched in, I thought his breaking ball was outstanding, and I thought he used his changeup. It did stick out in my mind. It gave us a lot to think about when we were trying to decide who our 12th pitcher was.”
Friday night in the Bronx, Warren, hosting 12 family members from North Carolina -- will take the first step in deciding his immediate future.
“It’s going to be big, but I’m not going to try to put too much pressure on myself,” Warren said. “I’m going to try to simplify it, go out there and pitch.”
Updated with the Yankees' recall of David Phelps. Ryota Igarashi was sent to Triple-A in the corresponding move.
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