PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 2017 season will be one that Jimmy Yacabonis will always remember.
That’s because it’s the season when the former St. Joseph’s University standout made his Major League debut.
Yacabonis is currently dominating in the bullpen for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, but earlier this season the 25-year-old right-hander pitched in four games for the Baltimore Orioles.
“Unreal,” Yacabonis tells KYW Newsradio. “Made my debut in Yankee Stadium (on June 11th). A lot of family and friends there because I’m from the area. I grew up about 40 minutes from Yankee Stadium (Matawan, New Jersey), so it was pretty exciting. I was on pretty much no sleep because it was a short call-up, day game. But once I got those jitters out of the way I felt like I could definitely pitch up there. I got some good hitters out in that outing even though it didn’t go the way I wanted it to go (allowed four runs). (In the) Three outings after that, I definitely proved to myself that I could definitely pitch at that level.”
In those next three outings, Yacabonis allowed just a single run in 5 2/3 innings of work.
When not in the big leagues, Yacabonis has played a key role for Norfolk this year. He is 3-0 with 10 saves with the Tides and a 1.51 ERA. He breaks down the keys to his success.
“Definitely been able to develop my off-speed pitches,” he says. “Kind of off-set the fastball and that fastball location has been there all year.”
Yacabonis was drafted by the Orioles in the 13th round in 2013 and he is just the third player from Hawk Hill to reach the big leagues (Fritz Henrich and Jamie Moyer are the others). As special as this ride is for him, he also knows the pride it brings to his alma mater.
“It’s awesome,” he says. “I have a lot of support from my guys. Pretty much all the guys that I was there with throughout the years, everyone’s reached out to me, congratulated me. It means a lot to (St. Joe’s head coach) Fritz (Hamburg), he’s always trying to come to games. He came to Camden Yards for my home debut, I didn’t get in, but he was there. He sat right next to the bullpen, so that was pretty cool. It means a lot to him and it feels good to make them proud.”