After a thrilling week that saw the Yankees fulfill the lifetime dreams of Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade, Dustin Fowler and Miguel Andujar, Al Pedrique may think his few days beat theirs.
“I’m a lucky guy to get these opportunities to let these kids know they’re going to the big leagues,” the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager said. “To me, that’s really the best prize as a coach you can get.”
One by one, Pedrique delivered the news to the highly touted prospects the Yankees were awaiting them. Last Monday night, Pedrique got the call from Brian Cashman to alert utilityman Wade he was needed; on Wednesday morning, it was third baseman Andujar; on Thursday, outfielder Fowler got the call; and on Friday night, it was Frazier’s turn.
“The reaction is the same — big smile, the look on the face like, ‘I can’t believe this is true, what is happening?’ ” Pedrique said. “We as an organization are very proud of these guys, very happy for them.”
Pedrique, who played in the majors in the late ’80s, had the same message for each: “‘Listen, I just got a call from Cash, and you’re going to New York. Congratulations. Great job.’ We let them know how proud we were of those guys. Basically we told them it’s the same game, be yourself, don’t try to do too much.”
Fowler did. In the first inning of his debut — before his first at-bat — the right fielder hunted a fly ball in Chicago that was veering into the stands. He sprinted until he hit the low wall, crashing against it and rupturing his right patellar tendon, ending his debut and season.
“Devastating. I felt real bad,” said Pedrique, who coached Fowler for 70 games this year. “You always say injuries are part of the game, but when it happens the way it did … first game, the kid not getting a chance to get his first at-bat.
“At the same time, it happens when you play the game the right way. That’s the way he played when he was here at Triple-A — 100 percent every day, dove for balls in the outfield. He did everything he could to help the team to win.”
After Fowler went down, Frazier went up. The electric redhead homered in his first game Saturday, lining a ball in Houston that just cleared the left-field fence.
“I saw the highlights,” Pedrique said. “I was in the office after the [Triple-A] game. … I heard about it, I ran out of the office and saw it when they were showing it [on TV] for the second time.”
Pedrique saw the 22-year-old hammer 12 homers this season, but the 13th was sweetest.
“This kid’s got tools,” he said. “He can run, he can throw — his throw has gotten so much better since we got him last year. He’s got speed. He can cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He has the potential to be the total-package player. He showed the power.”