Left-hander Jacob Lindgren brought up by Yankees
NEW YORK (AP) Jacob Lindgren took a taxi from his Manhattan hotel and arrived at Yankee Stadium about seven hours before game time Sunday.
''I didn't know how to get in,'' the 22-year-old pitcher said. ''I was waiting outside the clubhouse, just knocking.''
Then a telephone on a desk started ringing. He had been spotted on a television monitor by a security man in another part of the ballpark.
''Somebody called up and goes, `Hey, who are you?''' the left-hander recalled a few hours later.
''My name is Jacob Lindgren. I just got called up,'' he remembered responding.
''And he goes: `All right, we'll let you in.'''
Selected in the second round with the 55th overall pick, Lindgren could become just the third player from last year's draft to reach the major leagues after two other lefties: Brandon Finnegan of Kansas City (the No. 17 pick) and Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox (No. 3).
After three seasons at Mississippi State, Lindgren signed for a $1.1 million bonus and rapidly advanced through the Yankees' minor league system last year. With a dominant slider, he struck out 48 in 24 2/3 innings for the Gulf Coast Yankees, Class A Charleston and Tampa, and Double-A Trenton, earning the nickname ''The Strikeout Factory.''
New York thought so much of Lindgren he was invited to big league spring training and struck out 10 over 7 1/3 innings in eight appearances.
''There's late movement you hear the catchers talk about,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ''If you're not used to him, it's kind of uncomfortable because the ball moves so late. You just saw a ton of ground balls. You didn't see people square the ball up on him.''
Lindgren, who throws harder than his 5-foot-11 height would make one think, went 1-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 15 relief appearances this year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with 29 strikeouts in 22 innings.
He was surprised when RailRiders manager Dave Miley pulled him aside Saturday and told him the Yankees were calling him up.
''At first, I didn't take him serious,'' Lindgren said. ''But then I was like, he's a pretty serious guy.''
Lindgren, who throws in the low-to-mid 90s, had two starts and 12 relief appearances as a college freshman and 14 starts as a sophomore, helping form the Bulldogs' ''Bench Mobb'' who specialized in freestyle rapping and other dugout rituals.
He was moved to the bullpen for his junior year.
''They felt me going one-to-three innings, max effort, played better than me trying to go seven-to-nine,'' he said.
His parents planned to be at Yankee Stadium for Sunday night's nationally televised game against Texas - they initially thought their son was joking about the call-up - along with his grandfather, an uncle and an aunt. Their son didn't get into the game, a 5-2 loss.
Lindgren is part of an emerging youth movement for the Yankees. Outfielder Slade Heathcott, the 29th overall pick in the 2009 draft, made his major league debut Wednesday and outfielder Aaron Judge and second baseman Rob Refsnyder also are considered top prospects. Second baseman Jose Pirela has been up to the big club a few times in the past year.
New York hopes for a new generation of homegrown players to replace Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams.
''I think it's really essential going forward,'' Girardi said. ''With the price of free agency, the length of years free-agent contracts are, I think it's extremely important that you are able to call on your minor leagues and get production.
''You think about the long run that took place here, there were kids that came up from the minor leagues that were really successful, filled in with others players, free agents that came over or trades, and it was a great mixture. And I think you have to have that.''
Lindgren, who had never been to New York before, arrived just in time for the ceremony retiring Williams' No. 51. Pettitte and former manager Joe Torre were among those on hand.
''Get to meet the whole crew,'' Lindgren said with a smile.
NOTES: SS Brendan Ryan (hamstring) was transferred to the 60-day DL. RHP Branden Pinder was optioned to Scranton after he threw 48 pitches over three innings in Saturday's 15-4 loss.