TAMPA, Fla. — As he worked out spring training, moving on the names in bold at Yankees camp, those close to Ron Marinaccio recalled how far he had come.
“Send me the picture of me at six, with the Bleacher Creatures,” Marinaccio said of growing up as a Yankees fan in Toms River and playing games at the old Yankee Stadium.
The day Toms River native Todd Frazier announced his retirement as an MLB player, Marinaccio officially became part of the Yankees’ pitching staff.
“It’s impossible to imagine,” said Marinaccio, 26, imagining himself on the foul lines for the opening day presentations.
“It’s going to be amazing on its own (and being with) the Yankees just makes it a little cooler,” Marinaccio said after pitching a scoreless inning, with two strikeouts, in the Yankees’ exhibition final on Tuesday. , a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Earlier Tuesday, Marinaccio said he messaged Frazier after the former Big League infielder — who played for both the Yankees and Mets — announced his retirement via social media.
“I’m happy for him, he’s going to be spending time with his kids now, which is great,” said Marinaccio, who spent time with Frazier.
“He reached out to me in the offseason and I had to sort his brains out a bit…what to expect coming here, so that was good,” said Marinaccio, who called Frazier a “brother eldest for me”.
The right-hander, who wore No. 97 in camp, earned a spot on the Yanks’ 16-man staff to open the season based on a strong spring and 2021 minor league season that put him on the map.
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Manager Aaron Boone said that “very early on” Marinaccio and fellow rookie JP Sears, a southpaw, caught the attention of coaches and executives.
“The fact that we put them on the 40-man roster this winter was a good indicator of who we thought they were and where we thought they were,” Boone said.
“And I think both of these guys…have really good makeup (and) the elements to allow them to make that transition.”
Marinaccio’s speed went from 90-91mph to consistently 94-95mph during the COVID-interrupted summer of 2020 as he focused on his delivery and training.
Combined last season at class AA Somerset and class AAA Scranton, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound player threw a 2.04 ERA in 40 games, with 105 strikeouts to 27 walks in 66 ,1 sleeves.
Facing teams like the Toronto Blue Jays this spring, featuring Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer, gave Marinaccio even more confidence, knowing he could find ways to navigate a menacing lineup of the big league.
Marinaccio wasn’t sure about his chances of going north out of camp, “just knowing … there’s a lot of established guys, especially in the bullpen,” he said.
The Yankees’ 2017 19th-round draft pick from the University of Delaware, Marinaccio hasn’t allowed an earned run in six games (5.2 RP) this spring. He struck out six batters and was used in a variety of situations, including mid-inning work.
“My thing was just to try to come in…and show the team that I could help in any way I could.”
Pete Caldera is the author of Yankees beats for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, transactions and more, please sign up today and download our app.