TRENTON – The Thunder had just defeated the Binghamton Rumble Ponies last Friday night before the team departed NYSEG Stadium and headed back to the downtown Holiday Inn. Players began to turn in for the night – Domingo Acevedo was laying in bed watching television when a loud and unexpected thump came from his hotel door just after 11 P.M.
“I was staying in my room at the hotel watching Netflix,” admitted Acevedo. “The manager comes to my room and knocks on my door. I said to myself, “who is at my door? It’s past eleven. I look and it’s the manager and I say, “Oh s—. I don’t know why the manager is here. Why does Jay Bell need to talk to me? It’s not good.”
Acevedo explained that infielder Wendell Rijo thought that perhaps he was going to be sent down, but Bell instead wanted him to translate on his behalf to let the Dominican-native know that he was being summoned to the big leagues for the first time.
“He started to talk and I could understand what he was saying,” Acevedo said. “I felt my body get hot, the energy in my body and I was breathing harder. I got a big hug from my pitching coach and Jay Bell and then I said I need to call my mom to tell her about the opportunity.”
“He earned it,” said Bell. “He has pitched well this year and he is throwing the ball extremely well. Velocity is back, breaking ball is really good, his command of the ball is a little bit better than I saw last year.”
After making the 180-mile trek from Binghamton to the Bronx in a little bit over three hours on Saturday morning, Acevedo recalls the initial moments after arriving at Yankee Stadium. The clubhouse manager showed him to his locker and pointed out the cafeteria and managers office to him, but there was no time to waste for the big 6’7″ right-hander.
“Hey, I need to go to the field,” Acevedo exclaimed. “When I go to the field, I took some grass and I said, ‘It’s not fake, it’s real.”
Shortly after making his way back into the Bombers clubhouse, Acevedo donned the revered Yankees pinstripes that have been chronicled as one of the iconic staples in the games rich and storied history. All-time greats from generations past like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and Roger Maris wore the uniform, and now Domingo Acevedo was granted that same opportunity.
Acevedo suited up and was more than happy to throw on a freshly sewn Majestic number 70 home jersey hanging in his locker. “I went to the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror and said, “that’s me, that’s my dream,” said Acevedo.
The Yankees had decided to promote Acevedo because he was fresh and due to start on Sunday, and after the bullpen was taxed a bit on Friday night in relief of Domingo German, the organization wanted to be equipped with an arm that could give them multiple innings in the event that scheduled starter Sonny Gray had faltered.
The Yankees ultimately were able to get the game to a juncture that they felt comfortable in relying on their regular high-leverage middle and back-end relievers to take the game home. Acevedo spent the entirety of the Yankees 7-6 victory over the Mets in the bullpen before he was optioned back to Trenton following the game.
While the situation did not afford Acevedo his major league debut, the mere opportunity to put on the uniform and live the life of a big leaguer for a single afternoon is all of the fuel that he needed to reach that pinnacle and hopefully stay there permanently.
“I am back here (in Trenton),” said Acevedo. “I am going to keep working hard and prepare for everything; command my pitches, my delivery and be ready for the next opportunity. All I can control is to keep working, stay healthy and continue to work on what I need to. It doesn’t matter if it is for a reliever or for starting, I will be ready for everything.”
Acevedo added, “I’m more hungry. I just want to continue to work harder and more concentrated on my job. I want to be 100 percent ready to go back again to the big leagues.”