TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Troy Tulowitzki has never kept it a secret that he’s always wanted to play for the Yankees and grew up idolizing Derek Jeter.
On Monday, the Yankees’ new shortstop had a storybook debut in the team’s first home game of the spring. “Tulo” launched a home run in his first at-bat and made two sparkling plays in the field on route to a 3-0 Yankees win over the Blue Jays.
The 34-year-old drove the second pitch he saw from righty Marcus Stroman down the right field line and just over the 314-foot marker to lead off the first inning.
Tulowitzki was visibly thrilled as he rounded the bases, pumping his fists and yelling with excitement.
It’s been a long haul for the former superstar shortstop. The Blue Jays released the 34-year-old and ate $38 million that was still owed to the five-time All-Star this winter. The Yankees will only have to pay Tulowitzki $555,000 in 2019, an absolute steal if the slugging superstar can stay healthy this spring.
Tulo missed the entire 2018 season due to surgery on both heels and was only able to appear in 66 games in 2017.
“It’s the biggest spring training homer I’ve ever hit,” a smiling Tulowitzki said. “With that being said, I got a little pumped up there. People said I’ll never make it back on a baseball field again. Anybody that tells you you’re done, you’ve a little extra fire.”
NOTES FROM THE GAME:
Newly-acquired starting pitcher James Paxton also took the field for the first time this spring. The lefty threw two scoreless innings, but walked two in a 19-pitch debut.
Aaron Judge wowed the crowd with a booming double to left field in the third inning.
Domingo German and Luis Cessa – both completing for a spot in the Yankees bullpen as the long-reliever or possible fill-in starter – each delivered two scoreless innings in the victory. Chad Green and Jonathan Holder also got in some work as Yankees pitchers held Toronto to just one hit Monday.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)