Oswaldo Cabrera went 0-for-4 on Wednesday with two strikeouts, nearly fell down while catching the first pop-up hit his way and threw a ball away trying to complete a double play.
Afterward, the Yankees infielder called it “the best day in my career after yesterday.”
“Yesterday” was Tuesday, when Cabrera was told he was getting called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make his big-league debut, which he did in the Yankees’ thrilling 8-7, 10-inning victory over the Rays at Yankee Stadium.
Who cares if Cabrera had little to do with the outcome? The 23-year-old switch hitter from Venezuela had the time of his young life.
At least until Thursday night, when he was one of the few bright spots in the Yankees’ 9-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
Cabrera, starting at shortstop, went 2-for-4, the first two hits of his big-league career.
After striking out his first time up, Cabrera cracked a first-pitch double 107.5-miles per hour to right-center in the fourth off Jose Berrios.
That earned Cabrera cheers from the crowd of 41,419, which included his delighted parents. It also earned him a post-inning fist bump from Aaron Judge, who ran out to shortstop before jogging to right to take his position, and a souvenir baseball he said he is going to give to his father, Leobardo, a former professional volleyball player in Venezuela.
“It was amazing,” Cabrera said. “I can’t describe how that feels. At that moment, I just was in the sky.”
Cabrera also roped a single to right in the seventh. Unfortunately, the hits did little to spark the Yankees, who couldn’t build any momentum from Wednesday’s comeback victory as Frankie Montas bombed in his first home start in the Bronx.
Montas allowed the Blue Jays to take a 5-0 lead with five runs in the second and overall gave up six runs in six innings. In three starts as a Yankee, the righthander has given up 14 runs in 14 innings for a 9.00 ERA. A round number, but not the one the Yankees thought they were getting when they acquired Montas from Oakland before the trade deadline.
Cabrera was one of the talented youngsters the Yankees held onto at the deadline. With their offense seriously scuffling, general manager Brian Cashman on Wednesday called up Cabrera and Estevan Florial to spark the squad.
On Wednesday, Cabrera got to celebrate at home plate after Josh Donaldson hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th. Cabrera was on deck when Donaldson went deep just before midnight in a game that was delayed 63 minutes by drenching rain in the seventh inning.
“That was incredible,” Cabrera said. “I just feel like I’m living a dream.”
The dream continued on Thursday. Two hits, plus a busy and impressive night at shortstop.
Cabrera handled his first chance as he came in to retire Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on a first-inning slow roller.
Cabrera made an even better play in the second when he caught Matt Chapman straying too far off second on another slow roller. Cabrera threw to second to nail the baserunner.
In the fifth, with a man on first and the Yankees trailing 5-2, Cabrera came in again to field a ball hit by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and flipped to second with his glove. The toss was slow and high, and may have prevented DJ LeMahieu from completing the double play. The Blue Jays went on to score a sixth run on Alejandro Kirk’s one-out double.
Was Cabrera cutting the mustard on the Guerrero ball? Manager Aaron Boone said no, that flipping the ball with his glove is something that Cabrera “works at a lot. That is one way to make that play. Obviously, [the ball] got stuck in there, got a little higher.”
Later in the inning, Cabrera calmly threw a runner out at the plate with the infield in.
“I thought he made some really good plays,” Boone said. “Overall, I think if you watched that game, you see a kid that moves real fluid out there.”
Cabrera, who played third on Wednesday and can also play second, will no doubt start somewhere in the infield on Friday. After two good days for the rookie, Cabrera and the Yankees hope the best ones are still yet to come.