Rougned Odor Plays Hero in First Game With Yankees


Stepping in with runners on the corners and two men out in the 10th, Rougned Odor had a chance to put his new team in front.

Odor had started the day 0-for-4 out of the six spot in the Yankees' lineup. This extra-inning opportunity, however, was different. 

The second baseman delivered a go-ahead RBI single, blooping a 3-2 pitch from Rays right-hander Collin McHugh into shallow center field.

That opened the floodgates for New York's slumping offense as the Yankees added three more runs in the 10th, taking a commanding 8-4 lead. They went on to win by that very score, fending off a sweep and escaping Tropicana Field with a win.

"Just a great, great at-bat by Rougie there to keep battling, to fight one off and then to add some important add on runs when obviously, we're depleted in the bullpen today," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the win. "Just really good finishing at-bats and winning at-bats there at the end. Great job by the guys."

Odor worked his way back from a 1-2 count, fouling off a tough slider before getting just enough of a cutter to bring home the go-ahead run. The second baseman said his goal was to put the ball in play, not think of his first four at-bats and work through the middle of the field.

"I was just trying to use the big part of the field and that's what I did," he said. "Trying to drive that run in to help the team to win."

It was Odor's first hit in a Yankees uniform, coming in his first start with the club. He was acquired by New York in a trade with the Rangers just under one week ago after spending the first seven seasons of his big-league career in Texas.

Yankees View Rougned Odor as 'Talented' Addition With Plenty of Upside

His new teammates singled out the energy that Odor has already brought to this club. 

"He's a guy that brings some versatility, he's gonna have some great at-bats," Aaron Judge said. "Today, he was fouling off some tough pitches, he's aggressive. That's what you need. You need a guy like that and especially in a situation where we need someone to step up. He took it right there, stepped up and drove in the run for us."

Asked if being designated for assignment by the Rangers earlier this month motivated him to play even better with the Yankees, Odor said he's just trying to be himself. If Sunday's effort was any indication, he'll be a welcomed addition to this Yankees roster going forward.

"I'm just trying to play the game the way that I play the game all the time, trying to bring the energy that I have to the team," Odor said. "That's what I did today. I feel really good."


Follow Max Goodman on Twitter (@MaxTGoodman), on Facebook (also @MaxTGoodman), be sure to bookmark Inside The Pinstripes and check back daily for news, analysis and more.