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New Yankees pitcher Eovaldi excited to join team

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The fastball phenom says he's ready to help out New York.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

At first glance, new Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi may not look like much of a star. The 24-year-old right-hander, who was traded from the Marlins to the Yankees Friday, is coming off a pretty unimpressive 2014 season, one in which he went just 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA, despite playing most of his starts in pitcher-friendly Marlins Park.

Nonetheless, the Yankees really like him, dealing star utility man Martin Prado and developing reliever David Phelps just to get a hold of his services. Their plan for his future appears to be a job in the back of the rotation, and needless to say, Eovaldi is thankful for the opportunity.

"I've been fortunate enough that now I'll be able to say I've played for the two biggest franchises in baseball, the Dodgers and the Yankees," Eovaldi told The New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron Saturday. "I'm real excited and I'm getting ready. The offseason has been going great and I'm looking forward to helping the Yankees out."

The Yankees will likely need notable contributions from Eovaldi in order to contend in 2015, as few starters currently on their roster can be relied on to perform to their potential. Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova were injury-riddled last season, with Nova having to undergo Tommy John surgery.

But Eovaldi is confident he'll be able to do just that when he puts on pinstripes next spring, breaking down his pitch selection plan during the phone interview:

I want to throw first-pitch strikes with off-speed stuff, even use it on a 2-1 count or 1-and-2. I'm working on my changeup a lot more  this offseason, just mixing it into my repertoire. Last year, toward the end, it helped me out a lot. I want to keep locating the fastball, then use my slider and curve more and have a better mix.

He's right about finishing off the year strong, having allowed just four earned runs over 13 innings in his last two outings of 2014. However, for the most part, Eovaldi's September performance was still perceived by most fans as a struggle, as he recorded a 5.53 ERA while going 0-4. It will be interesting to see how quickly he's able to better/worsen those numbers when he's throwing in the American League next season, the first time he'll do so in his short career.