On Aug. 27, 2019, Clarke Schmidt started on the mound for the Trenton Thunder, taking on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats up in Manchester, N.H. That he has been perfectly healthy since, experienced only a brief flirtation with relief work and nevertheless hasn’t made a subsequent official start serves as yet another 2020 tale.
Schmidt’s 2020 tale isn’t over, however. Aaron Boone announced Saturday the highly touted rookie will make his first major league start Sunday in the Yankees’ regular-season finale, confirming a report by The Post’s Joel Sherman. With that plum assignment will come a chance for the right-hander to pitch himself into the team’s postseason mix.
“I think that if you have any type of competitive nature, obviously that’s going to be on your mind,” Schmidt said Saturday, before the Yankees’ 11-4 win over the Marlins at Yankee Stadium. “I know that I can help this team whether that’s out of the bullpen or starting. I know that I have the ability to get outs, and important outs at that. I know this is a good opportunity for me.”
Schmidt made two appearances out of the bullpen earlier this month, getting his big league debut out of the way, and he allowed two runs over 2 ¹/₃ innings, failing to come through in a very challenging first spot in Baltimore on Sept. 4. After the Yankees optioned Schmidt back to their alternate site on Sept. 13, Schmidt resumed his work as a starter, building his arm strength back up to the 65-to-70 pitch range, he said.
“I’ve been throwing the ball really well down there,” Schmidt said, referring to the alternate site. “I know it’s not the same exact game experience, but we try to treat it like a game down there as far as preparation.”
Facing major league-caliber hitters like Miguel Andujar in intrasquad contests helped, Schmidt said, though on the flip side, not having to exert himself the way he would in an actual game has left him feeling “fresh.”
“He has all the equipment to be really good [in the playoffs], even at this point of his career,” Boone said of Schmidt.
The 24-year-old Schmidt noted that the 28-man rosters, as well as the Division Series and Championship Series lacking days off, create a greater need for pitchers. He clearly believes he can give the Yankees a multi-inning option in October as well as another starting option and, as he put it when discussing his Sunday gig, a “spark.”
“I like the big games. I like the big moments,” Schmidt said. “This is something I’m looking forward to and want to be able to thrive off of. Make not only a lasting impression, but I want to put the team in a good position for the playoffs and hopefully be able to help them down the road.”
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article