Yankee Editorial: Slade Heathcott’s Major League Debut More Special Than Most
Tonight a New York Yankee is making his major league debut. Due to Jacoby Ellsbury going on the 15 day DL with a knee issue, the Yankees have called up outfielder Slade Heathcott.
While this will be a joyous occasion to celebrate the Yankees farm system, Heathcott was selected by the Yankees in the same draft as Mike Trout, the Yankees once feared this day may never come.
Heathcott’s history after being drafted is tumultuous at best. He had a number of injuries that kept him off the field year after year. Additionally, he has a history of alcohol abuse. After realizing the problem, the Yankees put Heathcott together with Sam Marsonek. Marsonek, a former Yankee pitcher, had a similar issue and used religion to beat the problem.
Heathcott’s injuries extended into 2014, limiting him to just nine games. He said, “At the end of November, I didn’t know if I was ever going to play.” Honestly, the Yankees didn’t know either. However, for the first time, they invited him to spring training before the start of the 2015 season. He beat everyone’s expectations, hitting .333 in 33 at bats with a home run, 7 RBI, and a more than solid .450 OBP.
While Heathcott had to eventually be sent down with the full outfield of Brett Gardner, Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, he received a promotion by going to AAA for the first time. In 37 games this season with the RailRiders, Heathcott hit .285 with a home run, 17 RBI and a .335 OBP.
There are a lot of reasons to root for Heathcott tonight as he starts for the first time. He will be batting ninth and playing in center field. Whether you admire him for overcoming his alcohol issue, getting past his injuries, or simply are excited to see young blood in the ancient Yankee lineup, Heathcott deserves a little but extra attention from Yankee fans tonight and throughout his stint at the Major League level.