October 20 – Happy Birthday Jose Veras

I remember the first time I saw Jose Veras get summoned in from the bullpen to pitch in a Yankee game. I’m not sure if it was during this Dominican’s first cup of coffee stay in the Bronx in 2006 or his second call-up in 2007, but I do remember how his huge physical size made an impression on me. This right-hander is six feet six inches tall and goes about 250 pounds. It took him three tries to finally stick with the Yankees but when he did start clicking it happened at an opportune time for both team and player.

When the Yankees opened up the 2008 season the plan was to have both Kyle Farnsworth and the previous year’s rookie sensation, Joba Chamberlain serve as the late inning bridges to closer Mariano Rivera. That strategy collapsed when rookie starters Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy struggled out of the gate and Chamberlain was taken from the bullpen and inserted in the rotation. That put too much of the late-inning workload on Farnsworth and Joe Girardi gave Veras the opportunity to fill Chamberlain’s vacated slot.

He responded well to the challenge and became one of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing 2008 season for the Yankees. Veras appeared in 60 games that year and finished with a 5-3 record with a 3.58 ERA and 10 Holds. Unfortunately for Veras, he got off to a slow start in 2009. Meanwhile, Phil Hughes began pitching brilliantly in a late-inning role and newcomer David Robertson was impressing everyone with his ability to get outs. That made Veras expendable and that June, he was sold to the Indians. He hasn’t had a chance to unpack his suitcase since, as he pitched for the Marlins in 2010, the Pirates in ’11 and spent last season with the Brewers. He has pitched  well since switching to the National League.

Update: Veras got a huge break at the trading deadline during the 2013 season, when he was traded from the lowly Astros to the playoff-contending Tigers. Detroit skipper Jim Leyland used him a lot from that point forward and the couple of times I saw him pitch during the 2013 playoffs he looked very effective, until last night that is. Veras was the guy who surrendered the back-breaking grand slam to Shane Victorino that sent Boston into the World Series and the Tigers into the off-season.

Other members of the Yankee family born on this date include:
My all-time favorite baseball player:
My all-time favorite PA announcer:
A guy who stole 79 bases for the 1980 Reds:

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2006 NYY 0 0 4.09 12 0 4 0 0 1 11.0 8 5 5 2 5 6 1.182
2007 NYY 0 0 5.79 9 0 3 0 0 2 9.1 6 6 6 0 7 7 1.393
2008 NYY 5 3 .625 3.59 60 0 15 0 0 0 57.2 52 23 23 7 29 63 1.405
2009 NYY 3 1 .750 5.96 25 0 10 0 0 0 25.2 23 17 17 5 14 18 1.442
8 Yrs 19 22 .463 3.84 394 0 133 0 0 26 377.0 300 171 161 39 194 388 1.310
NYY (4 yrs) 8 4 .667 4.43 106 0 32 0 0 3 103.2 89 51 51 14 55 94 1.389
CLE (1 yr) 1 2 .333 4.38 22 0 9 0 0 0 24.2 19 16 12 3 14 22 1.338
PIT (1 yr) 2 4 .333 3.80 79 0 19 0 0 1 71.0 54 32 30 6 34 79 1.239
DET (1 yr) 0 1 .000 3.20 25 0 7 0 0 2 19.2 16 8 7 2 8 16 1.220
HOU (1 yr) 0 4 .000 2.93 42 0 38 0 0 19 43.0 29 15 14 4 14 44 1.000
FLA (1 yr) 3 3 .500 3.75 48 0 11 0 0 0 48.0 32 20 20 5 29 54 1.271
MIL (1 yr) 5 4 .556 3.63 72 0 17 0 0 1 67.0 61 29 27 5 40 79 1.507
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/20/2013.

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