The Yankees’ Andrew Velazquez Is Living Something Bigger Than His Dreams

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Andrew Velazquez attended numerous Yankee games as a child, but had no recollection of attending a game against the team’s toughest opponents.

“These tickets were probably too expensive for me,” said Velazquez, a Bronx native, when asked if he had visited the Red Sox’s Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

Velazquez, 27, spoke while wearing a back-mounted Yankees cap and a gray Yankees hoodie. Velazquez’s hometown didn’t have many unique outfit options, even without the wrestling-style championship belt that hung over his left shoulder.

Velazquez had one of the best seats in the house for the Yankees. Three-game sweep in Boston This week. Better still, he played an important role in the series that changed the standings. With family members in the Yankee Stadium crowd, Velazquez went 7 on 3 at plate, drove in four runs and stole a base. His two-day RBI total exceeded the number he had accumulated over his entire career before this week.

While Velazquez has long stopped imitating his childhood hero with his Derek Jeter-like jump shots, he also put up a dazzling defense in short stops. This included a slipping, backstroke, game-ending game on Thursday (he was assisted by Anthony Rizzo on a slightly erroneous shot).

Minutes after Thursday’s win, Velazquez found himself giving a speech to his Yankees teammates, a ritual that comes with a wrestling belt for the game’s player. He likened the series to “The Twilight Zone”.

“I wish I had written,” said Velazquez. “It sounded so good from my mouth. It just came from the heart. I’m honored to be in that locker room with those guys. I dreamed of doing what we just did. It was so much better in real life.”

Velazquez’s burst of productivity against Boston came as a surprise, and the hot streak continued as he went 2v3 on Thursday with a threesome and a stolen base. 7-5 Winning the Minnesota Twins.

Velazquez, who has had short stints in the majors for other teams over the past three seasons, was called up by the Yankees before embarking on a journey that began on August 9. back yard.

His performance against Boston caught everyone’s attention from Bronx-born comedian Desus Nice. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. Velazquez’s father, Kenny, was a detective in District 42 near Yankee Stadium; Velasquez wears a replica of his father’s golden shield on a necklace during games.

Despite being the town’s goblet, Velazquez has grounded himself by staying with his family.

“It’s much closer than staying in Manhattan,” he said, less than 30 minutes to commute. “Also cheaper.”

Velazquez is having moments he could only dream of as a kid. But he didn’t come here without having “a very hard time in baseball,” he said.

Velazquez, a Fordham Prep product, was drafted in the seventh round by the Diamondbacks in 2012. This was followed by a trade to the Rays organization in 2014. He was called up by Tampa Bay in 2018, but another trade sent him to Cleveland in July 2019. As a sidekick, he took two hits in 23 hits between the two clubs that year.

Baltimore claimed Velazquez waived in February 2020. The downtrodden, rebuilt Orioles gave him the biggest premier league action example to date. Velazquez made 40 appearances in a 60-game season, but struggled, reaching 0.159 in 63 innings. It was released in November 2020.

At this point, Velazquez only had three RBIs to his name, but the Yankees saw clay that could be molded. Velazquez missed an opportunity to play for his hometown team, an organization that has helped hitters with similar résumés in past years.

“We have a ton of information when we get these guys, and that information is passed on to the board,” said Casey Dykes, the Yankees’ batting coach at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “So we have an idea of ​​why a guy like Andrew is extremely interesting and sought after in this organization, and then we have an action plan for what we’re going to tackle to help him become the best version of himself as a player.”

Key striker Velazquez made some mechanical adjustments to his batting after joining the Yankees, but Dykes said the organization’s plan revolved around improving its approach. Dykes wanted Velazquez to be more of a “tactician in a box” who could control the area and understand how shooters would attack him. These skills will lead to better contact, which will bring Velazquez to base. This would give him a chance to “wreak havoc” with his speed.

It was a good plan.

According to Aaron Boone, Velazquez immediately “liked” himself to the Yankees coaching team in spring training and put up strong numbers at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre under Dykes’ guidance. Velazquez was called to the Yankees after Gleyber Torres fell to the ground with a thumb injury after hitting .838 base-plus deceleration percentage, seven home runs, 43 RBI and 26 stolen bases in Class AAA.

“When he first got there, it was clear that this guy would have the opportunity to really make an impact on this roster this year,” Dykes said. “No one really knew when that was going to happen, but now he’s got the opportunity and he’s doing a great job.”

Velazquez’s days at the majors may be numbered. It may have so much to do with approaching Returns Torres and Gio Urshela more than anything Velazquez did or didn’t do.

But Velazquez doesn’t think so. How could he do it while living his wildest dreams?

“We are here now,” Velazquez said on Tuesday. “This is a good thing.”



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