Yankees’ Randy Vasquez solid in MLB debut: ‘What a performance’
When the Yankees traded away much of their minor league pitching depth at the deadline last year, it was reasonable to wonder who they’d be able to call up if they needed a replacement in the rotation this year.
Well, Jhony Brito has shown some promise in 10 outings, including nine starts, and on Friday night, right-hander Randy Vasquez was solid in his MLB debut, filling in for the suspended Domingo German.
The 24-year-old Vasquez, called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the game, gave up two runs and struck out six in 4 ²/₃ innings and 84 pitches in a 5-1 loss to the Padres in The Bronx, hurt by Juan Soto’s two-run homer in the fifth inning.
Vasquez impressed the Yankees with his poise and stuff.
“He threw the ball well,” said bench coach Carlos Mendoza, who was the acting manager on Friday, with Aaron Boone serving a one-game suspension for his treatment of umpires. “In front of a Friday night crowd, against a pretty good lineup, his presence was good.”
Especially for a player who had never been to a major league stadium before Thursday.
“It’s not easy to come in here for the first time ever attending a big league game,’’ Mendoza said. “I’m sure he grew up watching Soto and [Fernando] Tatis [Jr.]. He handled it really well.”
Vasquez held the Padres scoreless for four-plus innings before faltering in the fifth.
After he pitched well at Double-A Somerset last year, Vasquez further cemented his status as a prospect with a strong performance this spring training in a game against the Phillies in Clearwater.
Vasquez said he was satisfied with his performance Friday and that he took a minute before the game to appreciate his surroundings.
It’s the latest stop on a journey that began when Vasquez signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic for just $10,000.
At 19, he was older than most prospects who sign with organizations.
Locked in a pitcher’s duel with San Diego’s Joe Musgrove, Vasquez retired the first two batters in the top of the fifth of a scoreless game.
But after he hit Jake Cronenworth with a pitch, Soto made Vasquez pay by drilling a laser shot into the second deck in right on a 3-2 cutter for the first runs of the game.
The rookie then gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts and walked Rougned Odor to end his outing.
Ron Marinaccio got the final out of the inning.
German is scheduled to return to the rotation Monday at Seattle, so the Yankees likely won’t need Vasquez again anytime soon and he was optioned back to SWB after the game.
They’ll no doubt keep an eye on him, especially if Clarke Schmidt remains inconsistent.
Vasquez got off to a shaky start this season, but had pitched better in his previous five starts.
He got no support from the lineup while he was on the mound, as the Yankees didn’t score until Anthony Rizzo’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the sixth.
“What a performance,’’ Aaron Judge said of Vasquez. “I told him, ‘It’s on us as an offense, not getting you a couple runs.’ ”