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.

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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.

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Tulo missed the entire 2018 season due to surgery on both heels and was only able to appear in 66 games in 2017.

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“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.”


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.

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(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)