It has been a long and at times disheartening wait for the Yankees’ Dean Anna who has finally made the Major Leagues after years in the minors. Anna spent 6 years in the San Diego Padres’ organization before the Yankees acquired him for pitcher Ben Paullus this past off season. The 27-year-old had batted for a .331/.410/.482 slash line with Triple-A Tuscon in 2013. but was never called up to the big league club. In fact Anna had never even been invited to a Major League Spring Training camp before he joined the Yankees’ in 2014. After an injury to Brendan Ryan, Anna made the club as one of the team’s two backup infielders and six long years of waiting had finally ended. The man nicknamed “Raccoon” was finally in the big leagues and now it was time to make the most of it.
On Friday, the Yankees’ decided to rest Derek Jeter after a late flight to Toronto and Anna was chosen to make the start at shortstop. Anna made the most of his first big league start as he collected his first hit and played very good defense behind pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. It was only fitting that after years hidden in the minor leagues, Anna’s first Major League start was being watched not only in America, but by millions of fans in Japan tuning in early in the morning to watch the highly anticipated debut of Tanaka.
“I can’t ask for more than that, I guess” said Anna before the game when asked about the swarms of eyes watching the game here and over in Japan.
The Yankees traded for Anna very early in the winter. They had not yet begun their half-a-million dollar spending spree and the idea of Plan-189 still loomed in the air. Robinson Cano had not yet joined the Seattle Mariners and Alex Rodriguez was not couch-bound as his suspension was still being appealed in arbitration. To fans, the trade may have been deemed somewhat insignificant at the time, but when two-thirds of the Yankees infield was dismantled the acquisition seemed very important. Anna gained the first backup infield spot on the bench at the end of spring training as the Yankees’ were hoping his above-average defense and good offensive skills could help to stabilize an infield in a state of turmoil.
“When someone trades for you it’s a fresh of breath air, really,” Anna said when asked how it felt when he was dealt to the Bombers “They wanted me. It feels good to be wanted.”
So after 6 years of waiting in frustration, Dean “Raccoon” Anna has reached the top level of the baseball world. It’s a story similar, but not quite as publicized, as his fellow rookie teammate Yangervis Solarte. The two both fought against some big odds to make the team and Anna was rewarded his spot on the roster just hours before Solarte beat out Eduardo Nunez for his. Now that he’s finally made it, it’s time to prove that he belongs here. It’s time to be a Major Leaguer.