If Andrew Velazquez’s Cinderella story didn’t final lengthy, it’ll have lengthy legs. So mentioned the person himself Friday morning, one borough over from the place he grew up and, for a second, electrified essentially the most demanding fan base in sports activities.
“The chance to play in New York, my hometown, was wonderful,” Velazquez, a local of The Bronx and graduate of Fordham Prep, advised The Publish as he attended the opening of the Wilson NYC Flagship retailer in SoHo. “A once-in-a-lifetime expertise. And the way in which the sport works, you by no means know. Simply loved my time right here, however actually good alternative in Anaheim.”
The Angels claimed Velazquez off waivers on Nov. 5, because the Yankees jettisoned the shortstop to clear roster house. This marks the 27-year-old’s fifth time switching employers, so he’s used to it, and he shook off a query about whether or not this departure felt worse as a result of it was the Yankees.
“I strive not to have a look at it that approach as a result of it was such a great expertise,” Velazquez mentioned. “I believe it was good selfishly for me, but additionally only for town. For those that I grew up with. Youngsters which can be attempting to change into no matter they’re attempting to change into, out and in of baseball.”
Velazquez, whom the Yankees signed in January 2021 as a minor league free agent, performed in 28 regular-season video games with Aaron Boone’s bunch, placing collectively a .224/.235/.358 slash line with one homer, his first within the massive leagues.
Velazquez, whom the Yankees signed in January 2021 as a minor-league free agent, performed in 28 regular-season video games with Aaron Boone’s bunch, placing collectively a .224/.235/.358 slash line with one homer, his first within the massive leagues.
“I’ve been attempting to knock that out for 4 years,” mentioned a laughing Velazquez, who made his MLB debut in 2018 with the Rays.
His athleticism, as exemplified by an amazing defensive play that ended an August 18 victory over the Crimson Sox at Yankee Stadium, endeared him to the loyalists, and he began the Yankees’ lone playoff sport, the American League wild-card loss to the Bosox, at shortstop.
Now, Velazquez will attempt to get going with the Angels, whose new bench coach, Ray Montgomery, was the Diamondbacks’ director of scouting when Arizona chosen him out of highschool within the seventh spherical of the 2012 draft. Angel Stadium, Velazquez mentioned, is “certainly one of my favourite stadiums, and it simply grew to become certainly one of them not too long ago once we went over there. I’d by no means been there earlier than. It’s unimaginable. Lovely stadium. The climate, I believe that’s a giant attraction on the market, too. I’ve been sort of bouncing backwards and forwards between there and New York.”
He follows the continuing labor talks carefully sufficient, he mentioned, to know to not e-book any spring-training housing, given the uncertainty: “I simply hope that each side come to an settlement. The union is doing their job and so they’re going to do a great job like they’ve been. Hopefully earlier than later (it’ll be resolved). We need to play.”
As he engaged with the followers and spent in depth time with Wilson’s legendary “glove guru” Shigeaki Aso on Friday morning — the primary time they’d met, Velazquez mentioned, though he has been with the corporate his total profession — the switch-hitter smiled when requested to mirror upon his temporary Yankees stint.
That homer on Aug. 21, along with his mother and father within the Stadium stands, “was undoubtedly up there,” he acknowledged. But when requested to establish the spotlight of his time in pinstripes, Velazquez mentioned: “I believe simply placing the uniform on earlier than the sport, within the locker room. Taking the sphere. Little issues like that. Warming up and seeing individuals I knew from my neighborhood screaming within the stands. That stuff, you may’t purchase that stuff.”