Three players made their major league debuts as members of the Yankees in 2015. Pitchers Branden Pinder and Matt Tracy and position player Slade Heathcott made their first appearances in the show this season. The most recent, Heathcott, made his debut in the majors on Wednesday in Washington, DC as a pinch runner for Mark Teixeira in the 8th inning and remained in the game in center field.
The outfielder/designated hitter was called up to the Yanks from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier that day after batting .285 (43 for 151) in 37 games with the AAA club.
During Spring Training this year with the Yankees, Heathcott batted .333 (11 for 33) in 23 games. His outstanding play earned him the James P. Dawson Award as the best Yankee rookie in Spring Training.
Heathcott made his first start in the majors two days later in center at Yankee Stadium. The 24 year old is expected to replace Jacoby Ellsbury during the latter’s stint on the disabled list. The native of Texas was cheered by his parents, wife and young son as well as the large crowd of over 40,000 fans during the first game of the six game homestand.
With one out in the third, in his first trip to the plate, he hit the ball sharply to left and motored to second for a double. He did not score that inning or in the fourth when he reached first after catcher’s interference.
He did cross the plate in the seventh inning, after reaching base on his second hit of the game, a single, on a single by Alex Rodriguez. The run batted in was the 1,992 in Rodriguez’s career. The mark tied babe Ruth for fourth place in major league history. A-Rod’s next RBI will tie Lou Gehrig for the top spot in the American League and third place in the majors.
Yankee skipper Joe Girardi expressed his pleasure with the newest member of the Yankees, “I thought the young man played well. His first hit was aggressive and he got a second.”
The rookie raised his hitting streak to two games on Saturday afternoon after hitting a single to right in his third trip to the plate. He achieved another major league milestone in the ninth as he drove in his first run on a ground out to second as John Ryan Murphy scored from third.
The youngster is currently leading the club in batting with an average of .429 (3 for7) after three games in the majors. It was no fault of Heathcott that the Yankees lost all three contests. They have lost nine of their last 10 games.