Can Ex-Fordham Pitcher Save Yankees Haggard Bullpen?
Fordham University is 5.2 miles from Yankee Stadium. The two entities are a pair of the most recognizable residents of the Bronx, if not New York City in general. No disrespect to the Rams baseball program but the Yankees have hardly used their borough neighbor as a feeder system. In fact, it's been well over six decades since a Fordham player has moved on to the Pinstripes. In Oakland this week, a right-handed pitcher from Long Island may be the next Fordham Ram to be a Bronx Bomber.
With the injuries to Chad Green, Michael King and later on Clay Holmes, the Yankees bullpen has been pummeled. Aroldis Chapman's issues with finding the strike zone haven't helped the problem. On Thursday, according to mlb.com, the Yankees activated local New York product, Greg Weissert. The righty reliever pitched in high school at Bay Shore High and went on to pitch for three years in the Patriot League for Fordham. Weissert was drafted in the 18th round after his junior year by the Bronx Bombers in 2016. This season, the 27 year-old has dominated in Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, firing 67 strikeouts in 46 innings. Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone hope that he is a diamond in the rough.
“We really like him,” manager Aaron Boone told Erik Boland of newsday.com. “He’s kind of rocketed through our system the couple of years…he’s kind of kicked his way in and we think he’s a guy that can, not only just fill a spot but come up here and impact us.” According to Dan Martin of nypost.com, Weissert will be the first Fordham player to play for the Yankees since Johnny Murphy in 1946. He too was a right-handed reliever. Murphy was part of seven World Series-winning teams with the Yankees and later was general manager of the Mets.
Yankees fans may have something to look forward to in the late innings according to his coach at Fordham, Kevin Leighton. “He’s kind of a bulldog,” Leighton told nypost.com. “He’s a tough kid with a ‘no fear’ type of mentality. He always wanted the ball. What makes him good is he always pitched with a little bit of ego to him. He knows he’s pretty good and I think he pitches that way.” The best closers in the game know that they are pretty good and they pitch that way. If they don't believe in themselves, nobody will. Greg Weissert should be fun to watch. Oh, by the way, he was a Mets fan growing up. If it hasn't already, I bet that changes fast.