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Rasner to pitch in relief for Yankees

by Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor

Darrell Rasner summed it up best when he was called up Tuesday night to pitch for the most storied franchise in professional sports.

“Kind of crazy, huh,” said Rasner after he was called up to the Major Leagues, joining the New York Yankees. Rasner will be available to pitch in this afternoon’s game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. The game will be televised by ESPN2 at 4 p.m.

“It caught me by surprise,” Rasner said. “It’s going to be an exciting time for sure. I’m still trying to pinch myself.”

The Yankees will carry 12 pitchers for the time being to add depth in their bullpen. Despite being used as a starting pitcher with the Yankees Triple A affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, Rasner, a right-handed pitcher, will be used strictly out of the bullpen with the Yankees.

Rasner knows he’s the 12th pitcher and understands that his time up in the Major Leagues may be short-lived. But he said he also hopes that his time up with the Yankees will be determined by his performance.

“I’m not going to worry about that kind of stuff right now,” said Rasner about how long he’ll be up with the Yankees. “I’m just going to enjoy every day to the fullest.

“Whatever role they want to put me in I’d be glad and honored to take that spot. I’ll do whatever.”

Rasner, a 1999 Carson High graduate, went on to have a standout career at the University of Nevada before being drafted in the second round by the Washington Nationals in 2002. He was called up to the Nationals last September, but the team released him during the off season and that’s when he was picked up by the Yankees.

So far with Columbus, Rasner has had an outstanding year. In nine starts, Rasner has a 4-0 record with a 2.56 earned run average in 52.2 innings. He also has an impressive strikeout to walk ratio of 42-11. Rasner opened eyes in his opening start this year when he struck out 11 batters.

Rasner also showed he could come out of the bullpen with the Nationals last year when he didn’t allow a run in several relief appearances. Rasner said he didn’t know if that affected the Yankees’ decision to bring him up, but added it couldn’t have hurt. He also said he benefitted greatly from that experience.

As a result, he’s a Yankee. “Just being part of this organization has been an honor,” Rasner said.

“It’s just really exciting to be just in this group of guys. It hasn’t sunk in, yet. It’s a class act group from the top to the bottom. Everyone handles themselves professionally.”