PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Throwing well in a simulated game early in spring training typically isn’t considered headline-worthy.
For obvious reasons, the rules are a bit different when it comes to Danny Farquhar.
Last April 20, while in the dugout during a relief outing for the White Sox, the righthander suffered a life-threatening brain hemorrhage, the result of a ruptured aneurysm. He had surgery the next day and was released from the hospital May 7.
His prognosis beyond the diamond, let alone on it, was in question. But the 5-9 Farquhar, who turned 32 on Feb. 17, recovered to the point that big-league teams again were interested, and the Yankees signed him to a minor-league deal Jan. 21.
“Huge for me,” Farquhar told reporters in Tampa after the simulated game, in which he struck out two of four batters, one looking and one swinging. “I find it a huge stepping stone every time. My family [his wife and three children] was out there in the stands, enjoying it, watching it. They wanted to be part of it and I want them part of it. So I’m just thankful that they’re here to watch me.”
Farquhar, wearing the custom-made piece of headgear that provides extra protection for his skull — which he described earlier in spring training as a “nice little hat/helmet that looks like a hat but is two sizes big” — threw 19 pitches, 12 for strikes.
“Obviously, it’s still early and there’s a few kinks to work out, but overall I felt great,” he said. “Extraordinarily successful, being the fact that I wasn’t thinking about anything besides striking everybody out. I wasn’t thinking about my helmet hat, I wasn’t thinking about anything else. I was just, my focus was what it’s been in the past. Just create swings and misses. That’s what I call normal.”
Farquhar, who has a 3.93 ERA in seven big-league seasons, won’t make the Yankees’ 25-man roster out of spring training. But when the inevitable bullpen opening arises, whether because of injury or poor performance, he likely will get a return ticket to the majors.
Plenty around the team are rooting for that.
“It’s good that it’s a regular sim game for him and he felt like it was just getting back into making pitches and concentrating on how to get people out,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “The things that you do more naturally when you’ve been through what he’s been through, it takes a little more time. The attitude he has about everything is, I think it’s good for everybody to see. It’s kind of special.”