The Yankees snapped their season-long losing streak on Saturday night. Now, they'll hand the ball to one of their top pitching prospects on Sunday Night Baseball.
Right-hander Clarke Schmidt was named the starter for a series finale against the Mets at Citi Field, the team announced on Sunday morning.
Schmidt will be making his 2021 debut after three appearances with the big-league club during last year's pandemic-shortened campaign. In his short career, the former first-round pick has allowed five earned runs over 6.1 innings pitched, striking out seven.
The prospect was poised to be a key part of this pitching staff this year, but Schmidt went down with a right elbow strain during spring training, keeping him on the sidelines for several months. He didn't pitch in the minor leagues until the end of July, working his way up to Triple-A just under one month ago.
To make room for Schmidt on the active roster, New York optioned fan favorite Andrew Velazquez to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Velazquez, the hometown hero from the Bronx, had been a spark over the last several weeks, producing some career milestones in pinstripes while playing tremendous defense at shortstop.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone hinted at Schmidt playing a role with the Bombers earlier this past week. On Saturday, the skipper narrowed the decision down to Schmidt and struggling left-hander Andrew Heaney to start on Sunday.
If Schmidt can't provide length in his return to the big leagues, expect Heaney to be one of the first pitchers out of New York's injury-ravaged bullpen. That group ate five innings in the win on Saturday and the southpaw was one of the few relievers that didn't get used.
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