In his first game back in the majors since the 2015 season, Yankees pitcher Bryan Mitchell made it count.
A broken toe during a freak accident in spring training kept the 25-year-old away from the team and battling through rehab along with some minor league work. His hard work to certainly paid off as he returned to “The Show” in a match-up against the division rival Toronto Blue Jays.
With his foot on the rubber, Mitchell went five innings and gave up just four hits while walking two and striking out two as he threw 80 pitches (49 for strikes). After giving up a lead off single to second baseman Devon Travis in the first inning, the North Carolina native found his grove. While wearing jersey number 55 on the mound, he found himself in just one minor jam which came in the top of the third inning.
“We debated letting him go out for the sixth,” said Yankee manager Joe Girardi. “He had such an easy fifth inning that I decided to let him go out. He was outstanding, I thought his cutter was good and I thought his best inning was the fifth inning and I don’t think you could ask for anything more.”
Mitchell gave up back to back walks to the first two batters, Melvin Upton Jr., and Kevin Pillar. He quickly regained his composure as he forced Travis to ground out into a double play and then caused heavy hitter Josh Donaldson to ground out to short to end the inning.
Drafted in the 16th round of the 2009 draft (495th overall), Mitchell shined as the club hoped he would. In a game in which Girardi expected to use bullpen pitchers from start to finish, the starter put in five solid innings of work. Blue Jays stars Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion, and Tulowitzki batted just 2-for-8. This could be a big turn for the Yankees if he could fill in as the permanent starter in place of the injured Chad Green.
When asked what Mitchell’s next assignment would be, Girardi promptly responded with, “Well I would think he would start in five days.”