The New York Yankees promoted 27-year-old closer Greg Weissert from Triple-A on Thursday, confirming widespread rumors from the previous few days and sending Nestor Cortes (depressingly) to the IL as the corresponding move.
According to Aaron Boone, Weissert would be a candidate for high-leverage opportunities almost right away. And why wouldn’t he be? He conquered Scranton with his filthy moving slider, and the team’s best reliever is Ron Marinaccio, fresh out of the minors. It happened before. It could happen again.
When the Yanks took a massive 13-1 lead in the first game of their four-game set with Oakland on Thursday, many assumed it’d be Luke Bard Time for the remaining three innings. After all, Bard was the reliever dangling at the back end of the 40-man, and he needed some run.
Instead, Boone chose this particular time for Weissert’s low-stress debut. But perhaps the man needed some more stress to help make his slider pop, because that thing was moving just a little too much.
Weissert drilled the first two batters he faced with a balk sandwiched in between before recording an out and ultimately walking two more. Initial jitters? Or are the RPMs on his breaking stuff just that nuts? In truth, the Fordham Ram almost finished off the final batter of his outing, but had to be removed after his 3-2 pitch went haywire once again.
There will be plenty more moments for Weissert to show off. He’ll become an integral part of this bullpen. But maybe he just needed a better atmosphere than 4,000 local rodents at the Oakland Coliseum to get psyched up.
Yankees reliever Greg Weissert helped by Aaron Judge after MLB debut
Luckily, both Lucas Luetge and the entire Yankees offense helped Weissert out by navigating this one to a 13-4 victory. And in the dugout, Aaron Judge came to the rescue, as he has so often before.
After Luis Rojas and Domingo German stopped by a slumped-over Weissert to spread good cheer, Judge noticed the camera fixated on the rookie, and not-so-subtly walked over to grab some seeds at just the right time.
Hey, anything to change the momentum back in a 13-2 game, right?
Weissert’s stuff showed every indication it can be a weapon moving forward for a Yankees team that needs late-inning arms wherever they can find them.
But if things do go poorly in the next trial run, at least the local kid knows he’s got Judge by his side — and standing in the way.