Russell Wilson Strikes Out in Spring Training At-Bat with Yankees
By Brian Danuff 3/2/2018
Before Russell Wilson became a superstar All-Pro quarterback, he was just another infielder in the lower levels of the Colorado Rockies’ minor league system.
A fourth round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, Wilson hit .229/.354/.356 in 379 plate appearances from 2010-2011. He hit five home runs, scored 58 runs, and walked 51 times, but struck out 118 times. It was becoming clear baseball wasn’t exactly Wilson’s true calling.
So, after the 2011 season and prior to his senior year of college, Wilson transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where he had a terrific season on the football field. Wilson was drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, and established himself as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, winning Rookie of the Year and a Super Bowl in 2014.
Still, Wilson never called it quits on baseball, and the Rockies traded his rights to the Texas Rangers in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. Then, this past offseason, the Rangers traded Wilson to his favorite team, the New York Yankees.
Wilson reported to Yankees camp in Tampa last week, and after participating in the same workouts, fielding sessions, and batting practices as the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, manager Aaron Boone decided Wilson was ready for game action.
The 30-year-old pinch-hit for Judge in the fourth inning of the Yankees’ eventual 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves. He worked the count to 2-2, but Braves prospect Max Fried got Wilson to swing through a 93-mph fastball for strike three.
It was likely the only at-bat Wilson will get this spring, and while he’s not happy with the end result, he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream.
“The best thing for me is, I had no fear. I went up there with confidence. I was ready.” Wilson told reporters. “I’ll always remember that. I’ll always remember when the announced my name and they call you up there, you get to go up to the plate and the crowd’s going crazy, the Yankees fans. I used to go crazy for Derek Jeter when he walked up to the plate. To have that feeling and that experience, I’ll never, ever forget that.”
Stay tuned to webn.tv, as our reporters will be in Florida all week covering the Grapefruit League.