Justus Sheffield, the Yankees top prospect, made his major league debut last night. He came out of the bullpen in the ninth inning of a game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Sure, the Bombers had a 10-1 lead, but that’s a pretty dramatic setting for a first appearance in the big leagues.
The rookie left-hander found himself in an early jam, and that probably undersells the matter. He had the bases loaded with one out and the dangerous Mookie Betts at the plate. The two did battle, with Betts nearly hitting a grand slam to left field. Thankfully for Sheffield, the ball hooked foul. Shortly after that scare, Betts banged into a game-ending double play. The Yankees won, Sheffield worked out of trouble, and everyone exhaled.
Following the game, the 22-year-old spoke with members of the media. He provided some great insight into what it’s like debuting at Yankee Stadium and against the Red Sox. For example, Meredith Marakovits asked him how it felt to come running out the bullpen. He gave a pretty funny answer.
“My legs felt like Jell-O. I mean, the first thing I was thinking was, you know, don’t trip running to the mound. Just don’t trip. Just get out there. And once I got out there, ya know, when I got on the mound, I thought everything was going to settle down a little bit. But you know, the nerves, and you know just the adrenaline, the adrenaline was pumping heaviest. But, you know, I’m glad I got to go out there and get my first one in.”
She also asked him how he managed to work through all the traffic on the bases.
“Yeah, I was trying to breathe as much as I could, trying to settle down. Didi [Gregorius] was out there and he was, you know, telling me to, you know, slow down, just breathe, just breathe. And, you know, that’s just what I kept doing. I knew sooner or later, that if I kept doing that, I was going to make the right pitch, and you, and those guys were going to get themselves out if I made the correct pitch. So, you know, just try to settle down and locate.”
The full interview is worth watching. He touches upon his history with Betts, the Yankee Stadium crowd, and how it feels as a starter making relief appearances.
What did you think of Sheffield’s debut? Did you like what you saw? Let us know in the comment section!