Randy Vasquez, the 12th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system, will make his major league debut Friday when he takes the mound against the Padres.
The right-hander, who arrived at Yankee Stadium around 2 p.m. Thursday, said that he expects to start. Aaron Boone, meanwhile, said that Vasquez will pitch “in some way, shape or form,” which means the Yankees could use an opener. Boone wanted to see what the Yankees’ pitching usage looked like Thursday against the Orioles before making a final decision.
Either way, Vasquez, 24, will realize a lifelong dream.
“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to pitch in the big leagues,” said the Dominican native, who received words of encouragement from fellow countryman Luis Severino. “So very exciting that it’s going to be tomorrow.”
Vasquez, who described himself as a pitcher with “tenacity” and “someone who wants to be dominant,” has had mixed results while throwing at Triple-A for the first time this season, recording a 4.85 ERA over nine starts for the RailRiders. But the Yankees have limited options on their 40-man roster, and allowing six earned runs in back-to-back starts on April 12 and 18 inflated Vasquez’s ERA.
He’s been better lately, logging a 2.67 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 27 innings over his last five starts. Vasquez’s control could be better, as he’s walked 23 hitters over 42.2 frames.
“He did some good things in spring training,” Boone said. “Good arm, good stuff. Has been pitching pretty well. He’s had some games where he’s walked some guys, but he is getting swing and miss, too. He’s next guy up right now with an opportunity.”
That opportunity will come against a talented Padres offense. While San Diego has played poorly, a lineup boasting Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts is a tough assignment for a pitcher making his MLB debut.
Vasquez, however, is looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s gonna be exciting,” he said. “You understand what kind of lineup they have — a really, really good lineup — and it’s gonna be fun facing them. But at the same time, I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do for my preparation to face those guys. So that’s what I’m gonna focus on.”
RODON TO THE MOUND
Carlos Rodon told the Daily News that he plans to get back on the mound Friday, a key next step after a nagging back issue delayed his rehab, which initially began with a left forearm strain. As of Thursday, he wasn’t sure how many pitches he’ll throw.
Rodon, who came to New York and threw at Yankee Stadium this week, also said he’ll travel west with the Yankees next week when they head to Seattle and Los Angeles, giving him additional time around his teammates after spending most of his rehab in Tampa.
LEVINE ON HICKS
Yankees president Randy Levine addressed the team’s decision to part with Aaron Hicks on Thursday. Levine spoke after a bill signing ceremony with New York City mayor Eric Adams at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees’ decision to designate Hicks for assignment over the weekend meant cutting ties with a player who still had three years and nearly $30 million left on his contract, including 2023.
“That shows Hal Steinbrenner listened to his baseball people with their recommendation, and the priority is putting the best team on the field,” Levine said. “We’ll take care of the money. That’s my job.”
Hicks debuted for the Yankees in 2016 and earned a seven-year, $70 million extension following a career-year in 2018. But he’s played in just 303 games while slashing .218/.330/.360 since then, and he hit .188 over 28 games this season.
“He is not the first player who comes to New York and didn’t succeed as much as he would like to have succeeded,” Levine said, “and he won’t be the last.”
With Vasquez pitching Friday, Luis Severino’s second start will happen Saturday. The righty is okay; Boone just wanted to give Severino an extra day of rest.
Gerrit Cole will pitch Sunday, while Domingo German will rejoin the rotation Monday when the Yankees begin a series in Seattle.
WHAT’S GERMAN BEEN UP TO?
German has been spending his 10-game sticky stuff suspension in Tampa, per Boone. However, he was heading to New York on Thursday.
German threw 80-something pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday.