A member of the Yankees’ next-man-up club stepped up to the plate at the Stadium on Tuesday night, ready to take a swing in the sixth inning of the rivalry renewal against the Red Sox.
Mike Tauchman has been getting some starts here and there in the outfield because of the standing-room-only crowd on the injured list. The lefthanded hitter opened in leftfield and doubled in a run against lefty Chris Sale in the fourth.
Now the Yankees were up by four and there were two in scoring position with righty Erasmo Ramirez on the mound. After taking two balls, Tauchman launched the third pitch into the night. It landed in the second deck in right.
The Yankees pounded Boston, 8-0, and Tauchman played a starring role, delivering his first career homer and his first multi-RBI game. His two hits in four at-bats doubled his total for the young year and his four RBIs were twice as many as he had in his career.
“Nights like tonight are great for confidence,” he said. “As the new guy, you always want to help the team and do whatever you can. It’s great to just contribute to a really quality win.”
Tauchman was involved in a trade after the game. He met a father and son who had his home-run ball and traded some things to get it back.
“Just a couple of signed balls and pictures and stuff,” Tauchman said. “It was really nice of them to do that. It’s a memory that I’m going to have for, like, ever.”
So who’s Mike Tauchman?
Well, he’s 28. He’s listed at 6-2, 220 pounds. He’s a native of Illinois. He played at Bradley University. He went to Colorado in the 10th round of the 2013 draft.
He came up to the Rockies three times in 2017, playing in 31 games and batting .222 with two RBIs in 27 at-bats. He made his first Opening Day roster last year, but he was sent down a little more than three weeks later and ended up hitting just .094 over two stints, going 3-for-32 with no RBIs in 21 games.
Most of his 2018 season was spent with Albuquerque in the Pacific Coast League. Tauchman had a slash line of .323/.408/.571 with 26 doubles, seven triples, 20 homers, 81 RBIs, 60 walks and 12 steals.
The Yankees acquired him for lefty Phillip Diehl on March 23. He has now started six times in left and once in center in their 7-9 start.
Tauchman hadn’t done much offensively in the previous nine games in which he appeared, with just two doubles in 16 at-bats and no RBIs.
“I hope he can get a little more settled in as he gets more opportunities, back-to-back starts now,” Aaron Boone said. “Not the easiest draw being a lefty against Sale there, but I thought he took really competitive at-bats against him. He was obviously able to get the ball down the [rightfield] line [for the double] and then add on the home run.
“He’s a talented player. I’ve heard his name talked about for the better part of the last year. So he has that kind of ability. He’s a really good defender in the outfield. You saw a little glimpse of the power at the plate.”
So what was going through Tauchman’s mind as he rounded the bases after home run No. 1?
“I was like, ‘This is pretty sweet,’ ” he said. “I just tried to enjoy the moment and try to remember that feeling and hopefully repeat it a lot.”