Monday, June 28, 2010

Rise of the rookies propels Yanks

Robinson Cano's game-winning home run got major, well-deserved play in the New York tabloids this morning. But for me, the most impressive element of the New York Yankees improbable comeback last night was the contributions from two youngsters who have played a total of less than three weeks of baseball in the big leagues.

The 9th inning rally against Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton would have fallen short if not for tough at-bats from Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis. Either rookie could have been intimidated by the 300-pound righty, but they both rose to the occasion, with Huffman knocking in two of the four runs the Yankees scored that inning and Curtis fouling off pitch after pitch to drive in the tying run. Their contributions did not go unnoticed by the veteran Yankees, with everyone from starter Andy Pettitte to manager Joe Girardi specifically praising their feisty plate appearances.

On a day when the veterans, particularly Pettitte, had not distinguished themselves, playing uncharacteristically poor fundamental baseball, the rookies showed real guts. Huffman said he was not nervous at the plate, but did feel some butterflies. Afterward, Huffman and Curtis were both all smiles in the clubhouse, secure in the knowledge that no matter what they do in the rest of the careers, they played key roles in what will undoubtedly be a candidate for the best comeback victory of the year.

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