September call-ups provide an opportunity for players stashed away in the minor leagues to shine for a month in what may, for some, serve as an audition for the following year. Two of the newest Yankees, JR Murphy and Cesar Cabral, made their big league debuts in yesterday's win over the White Sox. They each picked up the first of possibly many milestones to come in the victory, which is exciting for family, friends, and fans alike.
With the struggles of Chris Stewart as the Yankees' regular catcher this season, Murphy's strong season between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre put him on many fans' maps with the hope of a catcher that might actually bring something to the table offensively. Though he did not start the game or even play a full inning, his pinch-hitting appearance in the eighth inning of yesterday's game also delivered his first hit in the majors after he scalded a pitch to third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who was eaten up on the play. Murphy hustled down the line and was awarded a hit on the play. Could it have been ruled an error? Possibly, but it wasn't and it surely doesn't matter in this moment. Hopefully Murphy will get a chance to play down the stretch, even if he has been labeled the Yankees' third catcher. Stewart is run down and has no future on the team. There's no guarantee that Murphy's September will be an audition in the eyes of the front office, but it very well could be if the Yankees don't think Austin Romine is their 2014 starting catcher and have the sense to realize that Stewart shouldn't be either.
JR Murphy's first big league hit
Cano reacts to Murphy's first hit
Cabral came in to pitch the eighth inning of the blowout for his first appearance as a Yankee. He started his inning off with three pitches that rung up Jordan Danks looking before allowing a single to Josh Phegley and retiring Alejandro De Aza on three pitches with a mix of sliders and four-seamers. His final out of his inning came via a lineout to the third baseman by Gordon Beckham. With Boone Logan hitting the free agent market this offseason, Cabral could use September to audition for the role of bullpen lefty going forward if the team decides to cut ties with Logan or chooses to go with a two-lefty system in 2014.
Cabral's first big league strikeout
The Yankees are within striking distance of a playoff spot, which means their willingness to play unproven rookies may not be as high as we would like. Still, both these players have something to prove in regards to their futures on the team for next season, and turning enough heads with their performance can certainly get their foot in the door when spring training rolls around. If nothing else, we should at least get some enjoyment out of them when rookie hazing comes along. Hopefully that's not all that they provide this season, and yesterday's milestones were at least the first step toward that.
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