In the top of the 9th inning Sunday night, the New York Yankees scored four runs to turn a 6-2 deficit into a 6-6 tie game.
In the middle of the rally were Chad Huffman, acquired off the waiver wire in May, and Colin Curtis, a 2006 Yankee draftee who made his major league debut this past week. I repeatedly contend that the Yankees 2006 draft will go down as the greatest draft class of all time.
Both outfielders, Huffman was brought up from Triple A two weeks ago, and Curtis was promoted for the inter-league games in National League parks where the DH is not used. Curtis has yet to start a game, but has appeared as the primary left-handed bat off the Yankee bench (at least when Jorge Posada is catching.)
Huffman came through last night with a big two-run single, and was followed by Curtis who hit the score tying ground ball to first base. Before plating the tying run, Curtis had a tremendous at bat, fouling off four two-strike pitches from Jonathan Broxton, one of baseball’s hardest throwing closers.
Huffman and Curtis made their major league debuts this season, as has utility man Kevin Russo, and right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova. Two other players, OF Greg Golson and RHP Romulo Sanchez, had cups of coffee for other teams, but until this year, both had not played in the majors in basically two seasons.
The four Yankee position players all connected for their first major league hits this season, and have helped the Yankees win games this year. Nova and Sanchez were each brought up in May to give an overworked bullpen some fresh arms. In fact, Nova’s promotion was to replace Sanchez.
That is four guys getting their first hits, and four guys making their major league debuts.
Joe Girardi has no issues in using his young players.
But this would not have happened if Joe Torre were still managing the Yankees. Torre was more of a veteran player type manager, continuously using veteran players, guys he trusted to do certain jobs. That is why Torre always used the same guys out of the bullpen. He didn’t really trust certain players, especially youngsters.
That makes last night’s game so ironic in that two rookies knocked in three runs in that last inning, helping to tie the game which Robinson Cano won with a two-run homer in the top of the 10th.
With the exception of Ivan Nova, probably all of the young players mentioned here will not have a impact during future seasons, but in 2010 they have all a little something to help win games for the Yankees.
The turnaround in organizational philosophy towards using their younger farm system talent is getting better all the time. Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Francisco Cervelli, David Robertson and Ramiro Pena have greatly contributed in recent seasons.
There are even more young players “down on the farm” who will continue to get their shots at the major leagues in a Yankee uniform.
And that is a good thing to see, as the precedent set by their predecessors has been quality, winning baseball.