Colorado Springs, Colorado; to Round Rock, Texas; to Tacoma, Washington; back to Colorado Springs.
Then onto Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle, the Bronx and, now, Moosic.
Milwaukee to New York.
It’s been a busy month for Garrett Cooper.
The Yankees acquired Cooper from the Brewers right after he played in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Tacoma as a member of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
“That first few days up there was just a whirlwind,” Cooper said Wednesday. “How I came off of the plane from the all-star game in Tacoma … That travel, I was running on maybe an hour of sleep. Then next thing I know, I got traded and (Brian) Cashman’s calling me telling me my travel’s going to be even longer, be in Fenway the next night.”
Being at Triple-A, Cooper knew his Major League debut couldn’t be too far away. But he expected it would likely come at Miller Park in Milwaukee, not at Fenway Park as a member of the Yankees in a showdown with the rival Red Sox on July 14. He started his career 0 for 8 before doubling off David Price on July 16.
“I was running off pure adrenaline that first game,” Cooper said. “First few days, not probably what I wanted to do, you know, striking out, but getting that first (hit) out of the way was definitely a big thing for me. Helped me calm down at the plate, get back to being normal.”
Cooper wasn’t thrilled about striking out so much early on — five times in his first seven at-bats — but only struck out four times in his last 18 at-bats. He also doubled three times and tripled once.
“After the first few days, I felt normal,” Cooper said. “I was starting to hit balls hard. I drove a few balls. That’s all you could ask for. Baseball’s a tough game as it is. Put a little more extra pressure on yourself, that’s always a little bit tougher when you’re up there hitting. I felt more comfortable as I got the first knock out of the way.”
With the arrival of Todd Frazier in New York and Chase Headley shifting to first base, the Yankees shipped Cooper to the RailRiders on Tuesday. In 75 Triple-A games this year, he batted .366, got on-base at a .428 clip and slugged .652. He had 29 doubles, 17 home runs and 83 RBIs.
When he takes the field Wednesday, he’ll be the 10th first baseman the RailRiders have used this season — Ji-Man Choi has played the most games at the position with 38, followed by Cito Culver at 23. With Cooper and Choi on the roster and Tyler Austin (12 games at first) expected to begin a rehab stint Thursday, Mike Ford (18) was sent back to Trenton.
“With the Sky Sox, I think we had one of the best records in minor league baseball,” Cooper said. “And then going up to the big leagues with the Yankees, they were on fire up there. Coming back down here, just keep winning. That’s all you’re trying to do when you play in these games. That’s how baseball works: you’re trying to win each and every day.”
News and notes
- Aaron Hicks will begin a rehab assignment with the RailRiders tonight. He’s going to play five innings in center field. RailRiders manager Al Pedrique said Hicks will probably DH on Thursday, but they’ll finalize those plans after tonight’s game. Hicks has been on the disabled list since June 26 with a right oblique strain.
- Tyler Austin worked out with the RailRiders on Wednesday and will begin a rehab assignment Thursday when he’ll play first base. Austin, who’s been on the disabled list since June 29 with a right hamstring bruise, ran the bases during batting practice Wednesday.
- Miguel Andujar was back in the RailRiders lineup Wednesday, batting third and playing third. He’s missed the past few days after he was hit by a pitch on the hand. “It feels better,” Pedrique said. “He came out early today, did some work in the cage with P.J. (Pilittere). He said he felt better. Still, we’re going to go out and take batting practice, he’s going to throw to first base, see how he feels, but right now, yes, he’s in the lineup.” Andujar took BP and made some throws. Looked good to go.
- With news out of Double-A that the Thunder are limiting Domingo Acevedo to five innings per start the rest of the way to keep his innings down, checked in on where the RailRiders are with innings limits. Chance Adams is at 116.1 innings this year after throwing 127.1 last year. Caleb Smith is at 89.2 innings this year, already more than the 63.2 he threw last year as a reliever. Smith did throw 135 innings in 2015. “As far as I know, as of today, we haven’t heard anything about (innings limits),” Pedrique said. “I have no idea if that’s going to be coming soon. I’m sure they’re keeping eyes on the workload. So, we’re just going to have to probably sit back and wait for the phone call. It happens every year, everywhere this time of the year. With key guys, you want to be careful, especially with young arms. And again, we’re just going to keep moving along until the phone rings.”
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