Yankees pitching prospect Deivi García made his major-league debut tonight. While the stands at Yankee Stadium were empty, that’s still a nerve-wracking experience for a 21-year-old. García’s meteoric rise through the minor leagues last year only adds to the pressure on the right-hander.
You know what helps with the nerves? Having a veteran player vouch for you, encourage you, and make you laugh. That’s where 40-year-old catcher Erik Kratz comes in. When the Yankees called up Kratz, he raved about Garcia and Clarke Schmidt.
“They’re ready to go. There’s no other way to say it,” Kratz told Bryan Hoch. “There’s a lot of really good arms down, all at different spots in their career, different spots in their development. But those guys, what you saw in Spring Training is what you’re going to get. And they’re doing the same thing down there.”
And Kratz was there to catch García in his big-league debut, his enthusiasm beaming as he jogged on to the field.
“I’m so excited to play catch with my son!” he yelled to the camera.
After García worked a 1-2-3 first inning, Kratz met him in the dugout for a big hug.
A top prospect and a journeyman backup catcher, with an age gap of nearly 20 years between them, enjoy this moment together. How can you not see that and smile?