TAMPA, Fla. — Russell Wilson struck out in his first spring training at-bat with the New York Yankees.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback pinch hit for AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge in the fifth inning against Atlanta on Friday and swung past a 2-2 pitch from left-hander Max Fried.
“The best thing for me is, I had no fear,” Wilson said. “I went up there with confidence. I was ready and will always remember that. And I’ll remember when they announced my name.”
Wilson received a loud ovation when introduced and fouled back the first pitch sharply to the screen.
“I used to go crazy when Derek Jeter walked up to the plate,” Wilson said. “To have that feeling and experience, I’ll never, never forget that. It always be a memory of mine, forever.”
The decision to give Wilson an at-bat was made Thursday, and the Seahawks approved. Wilson did not take the field in the sixth to play defence.
“It was cool to see,” said Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who was in the on-deck circle. “We were anticipating it all day.
A former minor league infielder, Wilson is spending this week working out with the Yankees, who acquired him from Texas last month and wanted to observe his leadership skills. He wants to soak up the attitude of a franchise with a record 27 World Series titles.
The 29-year-old Wilson led the Seahawks to the 2014 Super Bowl championship.
“It’s been great all week,” said Wilson, who took batting practice in a group that included Stanton and Judge.
Wilson will end his stay at Yankees camp Saturday.
“I think we share the same philosophy, it’s not easy to win,” Wilson said. “These guys know what they’re doing. This is going to be a great baseball team.”
In 93 career minor league games between Rookie-level Tri-City (2010) and Class A Asheville (2011) in Colorado’s system, Wilson hit .229 with 19 stolen bases, five homers and 26 RBIs. In his last 15 games with Asheville in 2011, Wilson hit .302, had five extra-base hits and nine RBIs.
Wilson was selected by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft, and was acquired by Texas in the minor league phase of the 2013 winter meeting draft. He participated in Rangers’ spring training workouts in 2014 and ‘15.
NOTES: RHP Masahiro Tanaka was not worried after not getting through the second inning of his first start. “Mistakes on my part,” Tanaka said through a translator. He allowed four runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings. … Judge played right field for the first time since off-season left shoulder surgery. He made his debut Wednesday as the DH. … OF Clint Frazier still has concussion symptoms and underwent an MRI.
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