Three busloads carrying about 275 people made the trip from Long Island to Citi Field on Sept. 28, 2014, to watch West Islip’s Nick Tropeano start and allow four runs in five innings for the Houston Astros in an 8-3 loss to the Mets.
It’s the only time Tropeano has pitched in front of the hometown fans in a New York ballpark, but that could change in 2020. The 29-year-old righthander agreed to a minor-league contract with the Yankees that includes an invitation to big-league spring training.
The Yankees don’t announce their minor-league signings until they do it en masse just before spring training, but a baseball source confirmed the deal.
The lack of an official announcement did not temper the excitement of Tropeano’s family and friends, who have been watching him since he starred at West Islip High School and Stony Brook University. Tropeano was a first-team All-Long Island selection at West Islip in 2008 and a two-time All-American with the Seawolves.
He has appeared in the majors with the Astros and Angels. Now he’s one good spring training away from being a Yankee.
“We’re ecstatic that he’s coming to New York,” Tropeano’s father, Paul, said on Thursday. “We’ve always dreamt of that. You know, when he got drafted by Houston [in 2011], we were very pleased with that. When he got an opportunity to play with Houston, that was just surreal. Then getting traded to the Angels [in 2014], it was a lot of late nights staying up. When I wasn’t able to travel out there, it was a lot of late nights, staying up to catch the games on the West Coast. Now that he’s on the East Coast, it’s going to be so much better.”
Tropeano was a fifth-round pick of the Astros. He is 12-14 with a 4.51 ERA in 42 games (39 starts). He missed the 2017 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and pitched in three games last season (one start) for the Angels, going 0-1 with a 9.88 ERA. He also went 4-6, 5.71 in 17 games (15 starts) for Triple-A Salt Lake.
It may be a long shot for him to make the Yankees’ talented roster. But some folks in West Islip are checking on bus rentals . . . just in case.