Wild MLB Debut by Weissert of the Yankees;  HBPs in 1st 2 pitches

Wild MLB Debut by Weissert of the Yankees; HBPs in 1st 2 pitches

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — From the very first pitch, it was very painful to watch the major league debut of New York Yankees reliever Greg Weissert.

Painful for the Oakland hitters too.

He hit a scout with his first offer. Then he hesitated. Then he hit a guy with his second pitch, prompting the A hitter to hit the bat.

It didn’t improve much from there either, for the new right-hander wearing the number 85.

And after a couple of walks, with Weissert’s last pitch going to the backstop, it was all over. Pulled by manager Aaron Boone with the Yankees up 13-2 in the seventh inning, Weissert made the extremely long walk from the mound to the bench at the Coliseum.

Every pitcher’s worst debut nightmare. At least he’s now a major league player forever – and the AL East leader Yankees still managed a 13-4 win.

“Only from here,” Boone said after the game. “This is hard. I think it accelerated on it. He recognized that.”

Heartbroken after his wild ride, Weissert, 27, slammed his glove on the bench and sat alone at the end of the bench, looking down.

He wasn’t alone for long.

One by one, his companions began to approach to offer words and touches of encouragement. Pitcher Domingo German, coach Luis Rojas and his catcher, All-Star Jose Trevino. At the end of the inning, hitter Aaron Judge was sitting next to Weissert, making the rookie relax.

“Just say, ‘Hey, take a deep breath, just play catch,’ that’s what it’s all about,” said 12-year veteran Josh Donaldson, who has three hits and four runs.

“We’ve all had that big league moment where it starts to accelerate and it’s okay. Will happen. But being able to overcome that the next time he has the opportunity will be important,” said the 2015 AL MVP.

Weissert was unavailable for comment.

Chosen by the Yankees in the 18th round of the 2016 draft from Fordham in the Bronx, the Long Island player got his big break Thursday after All-Star starter Nestor Cortes was placed on the injured list.

With a fastball in the mid-90s mph and a fast-moving slider, Weissert excelled in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Triple-A this season – a 1.76 ERA in 40 games with 67 strikeouts in 46 innings.

Boone praised him before the game, saying, “He’s going to have some opportunities. He will be in the mix, we really like him.”

Boone added, “He’s kind of shot through our system for the last couple of years, came to Triple-A last year after having a great year, had a phenomenal year there this year.”

Hours later, Weissert’s opportunity arose.

It turned out to be unbelievably forgettable – not that he’s capable of forgetting.

With his first pitch, he hit Jonah Bride in the leg. Weissert then seemed to lose focus and moved while on the rubber, resulting in a snag. His next pitch was a slider that hit Skye Bolt around the knee – Bolt threw his bat to the ground.

After retiring Nick Allen on a flyball, Weissert walked with Tony Kemp on four pitches. On a full count, a slider for Vimael Machin went to the backstop for a base-laden walk.

Of his 15 shots, only five were hits. He was charged with three runs, leaving him with an ERA of 81.00 for now.

Boone said that Weissert will be on the mound again.

“Look, it doesn’t change what we think about him,” Boone said. “Get it out of the way.”


AP baseball writer Ben Walker contributed.


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