Summer of 2011
My Gia is visiting her family in Charleston. The Yankees' Low-A affiliate, the Charleston Riverdogs, have a home series against one of the other teams in the South Atlantic League. Nik Turley pitches the first game she attends and he pitches well. A big lefty with a great pickoff move similar to Andy Pettitte. The next game, she's sitting next to a young guy keeping score and tracking pitches. Turns out it's Nik Turley. Down at that level of the minors, the starting pitchers all take turns doing this on their off days. Was a real nice guy, and someone that we decided was a new favorite of ours in the Yankees organization. We've been keeping tabs on him ever since.
Nik Turley is now an interesting prospect in the Yankees organization. Not much of a commanding fastball (despite his 6'6" 230lb frame), but great control of all of his pitches. Recently was made a member of the 40-man roster. And at 23 he's making a Spring Training start for the Yankees against the Orioles at 1PM. I'm going to be watching. And not only for young Mr. Turley. Another favorite, Slade Heathcott, will be manning CF for the Bombers. Heathcott has had an up and down minor-league career thus far, but he had a tremendous showing in the Arizona Fall League. And he's got a troubling but inspirational backstory. Someone that I'll be rooting for. Especially today.
Good luck, fellas!
UPDATE 1:12PM - Turley is NOT impressing right now. Walked the first batter, threw wide to 1st base on a pickoff attempt (runner reached second officially on interference from Dan Johnson), got behind the second batter before giving up an infield single. Then an RBI single to CF to give up his first run. All before getting an out. Yikes!
UPDATE 1:19PM - Nothing has gone right for Turley or the Yanks. Still no one out. 5 runs in for the Orioles. A few wild pitches for Turley. He and we may just want to forget about this one. HEY! He just struck out Lew Ford. In other news, Lew Ford sucks. Ugh. Turley is out of the game.
UPDATE 2:01PM - Heathcott reaches base in his first at-bat on a fielder's choice. Not a particularly great at-bat, but it was nice to hear Singleton and Flaherty rave about the potential for the AA Yank's outfield of Heathcott, Mason Williams and Tyler Austin.