Who’s that Yankee? Bryan Mitchell Makes MLB Debut In loss to Indians

Howard Goldin

The Yankee captain Derek Jeter is concluding his legendary 20 year major league career this year as a member of the same team where his career began. Not only are Jeter’s many accomplishments on-the-field very rare, but so is his remaining on one club for the entire two decades of his career in the big leagues.

The roster of the 2014 Yankees has undergone a myriad of changes throughout the season. Several circumstances converged that obligated the Yankee brass to search their minor league system as well as look to other clubs in the majors for new players. Long-time absences of four of the five men in the starting rotation due to serious injuries, the retirement of closer extraordinaire Mariano Rivera, the suspension of third sacker Alex Rodriguez, the free agency signing of second baseman Robinson Cano by the Mariners are among the major vacancies that had to be filled to keep the Yankees in the hunt for post-season qualification.

Through August 10, 52 players have worn the New York Yankees pinstripes. This is the second highest number of players used by the organization in a single season, topped only by 56 last year. More than half of the 52 (27) made their initial appearance in a Yankee uniform this season. The highest number of Yankees to pitch in a game, 31, made it to the mound this year. Of the 27 neophyte Yankees, eight made their major league debuts in 2014.

Thr youngest Yankee on the current roster, Bryan Mitchell, made his MLB debut in the eighth inning of the final game of the just completed homestand against the Cleveland Indians. Mitchell, 23 years of age, was selected by the Yankees in the 16th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

The North Carolina native traveled slowly through the minor league system, not reaching AAA until this season. He was first called up to the Yankees on April 20 and then again on July 13. The third time on August 8 was a charm as he pitched in his first MLB game two days later.

With the Indians leading, 4-0, Mitchell entered at the start of the eighth. The rookie walked Zach Walters, the first batter he faced. After the game, Mitchell admitted, “I was nervous. It was my first time.”

He retired the next six batters. His first strikeout, of Jason Kipnis, ended the eighth. The hurler remarked, The strikeout was awesome. The second inning was pretty good.”His second strikeout was of Michael Brantley, batting .324 with 17 home runs and 76 runs batted in this year. Brantley began the game with a .464 batting average aga8inst the Yankees this season.

Mitchell felt relieved after his performance, “The next time I think will be easier knowing I had done this.”

The young man said he felt comfortable because he had been with the Yankees during Spring Training, but everything was not s exactly the same, “We all know each other, but it’s definitely a different team.”

Since the Yankee way is never to give up, it is likely there will be additional changes on the roster before this season concludes.