It took Tampa Yankees catcher Wes Wilson five seasons to hit his first professional home run, a 17th-inning walkoff shot in Thursday's 5-4 win over Bradenton - a game during which Wilson also got the win for pitching two perfect innings of relief.
Seems like a storybook night for Wilson, who was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2011. Only one problem: the bullpen crew of the Single-A Advanced Yankees affiliate retrieved the milestone ball. And they're not giving it up so easily.
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Wilson, 25, posted on Twitter the "ransom note" from the pitchers and catcher that collected the ball. "Gonna be a tall task to get that home run ball back," he wrote on his account, @wtwilson5.
The demands include: 10 shares of Apple stock for pitcher Chris Smith, a righthander who, like Wilson, hails from Kentucky; a steak dinner for reliever Alex Smith; a new wardrobe for catcher Kyle Higashioka; Chinese food for reliever Luis Niebla; pitching coach Tommy Phelps asked Wilson to catch more side sessions for Tampa.
For the record, it doesn't appear as if the demand list is merely a joke. These pitchers are serious. Chris Smith (@c_smitty5) explained his request on Twitter like this: "he got me interested in the stock market. I need to build my portfolio. Everyone else is too soft."
Wilson had made two relief appearances for Tampa last season, going 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA, but Thursday's outing was his first in 2015. In 108 games over five seasons, Wilson has 358 at-bats. Wilson is a career .212 hitter with 15 doubles, a triple - and now, finally - a home run.
(39-29, 1st place in International League North)
Catcher Austin Romine was 2-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBIs as the RailRiders beat Rochester, 10-7. Third baseman Gregorio Petit was 3-for-4 with a walk and second baseman Rob Refsnyder doubled and walked.
(37-29, 2nd place in Eastern League Eastern, 0.5 games back)
Rightfielder Aaron Judge was 2-for-3 with a double and a home run, first baseman Greg Bird went 1-for-3 with a double and second baseman Tony Renda was 2-for-4 as the Thunder beat Reading, 5-0. Righthander Eric Ruth (5-0, 1.71 ERA) struck out three in six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and one walk. In his last six games, Judge is 6-for-20 with two doubles and three home runs.
(33-34, 4th place in South Atlantic League Southern, 3 games back)
Shortstop Jorge Mateo was 2-for-5 and stole his 43rd base and rightfielder Austin Aune went 2-for-3 with a walk as Charleston beat West Virginia, 4-3, in 10 innings. Designated hitter Dustin Fowler singled with one out in the bottom of the 10th and scored when second baseman Angel Aguilar followed with a double.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE YANKEES 1
(12-5, 1st place in DSL Boca Chica South)
Righthander Gilmael Troya (3-0, 0.95 ERA) struck out six in five innings, allowing one hit, one walk and one unearned run in a 9-6 win over the DSL Rockies.
Shortstop Diego Castillo was 3-for-5 with a triple, centerfielder Estevan Florial went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, third baseman Nelson Gomez was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk and first baseman Nelson Alvarez went 2-for-4 with a walk. Florial is hitting .405 (15-for-37) in nine games with two doubles, a triple and a home run.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE YANKEES 2
(6-11, 10th place in DSL Boca Chica North, 6 games back)
Rightfielder Juan De Leon was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, and second baseman Yonauris Rodriguez went 2-for-5, but the Yankees fell to the DSL Cubs, 8-4.