The dream of every professional athlete is to reach the highest level of his/her sport an in baseball that dream is to play in the major leagues. Yesterday, 24 year-old James Pazos, achieved it for the Yankees.
Pazos was summoned from the bullpen in the ninth inning to pitch to keep the game with the Tampa Bay Rays close. At the time, Tampa was leading 3-2. “The phone rang several times. Each time my heart sank and I lost breath. I was just excited to get into the game,” Pazos said.
The first batter he faced pinch hitter Joey Butler flied to center. Then Daniel Nava struck out looking. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi then came to the mound to remove the rookie, who received a nice ovation from the fans. Pazos later remarked, “I didn’t expect anything like that.”
His first major league experience emotionally impacted him, “I’ve never seen the stadium before. It’s just an incredible day. I dreamed about it a long time. It’s always good when it goes well.” Girardi commented on the youngster’s performance, “He did a good job. He got his two outs.”
Pazos was originally drafted as a teenager in the 40th round of the MLB First Year Player Draft by his home state Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, but he did not sign. After his junior year at the University of San Diego in 2012, he was drafted in the 13th round by the Yankees.
The 6-3 left-hander began in professional career in New York City with the Staten Island Yanks that same year. In 28 relief appearances, he compiled an impressive ERA of 1.78.
He has pitched well in the Yankees farm system until being called up on September 1. He was a part of the team early in the 2015 Spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Regardless of what transpires for good or bad in the future, Pazos will retain the memories for his first major league experience at Yankee Stadium for many years to come.