Cody Poteet repays Yankees’ tricky trust with incredible outing

Cody Poteet is pitching for the Yankees in Game 2 of doubleheader in Cleveland on April 13, 2024.

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When the Yankees acquired Cody Poteet in January, it was viewed as a risky move. The pitcher had only one minor outing in 2023 and 12 starts for Miami in MLB Tommy John surgery-interrupted 2022. Still, the Yankees signed him to one-year deal and he paid back the trust with a brilliant outing on Saturday in Cleveland.

As the Yankees turned to him, Cody Poteet, getting an MLB chance after 21 months, seized the spot start opportunity. Summoned from Triple-A as the 27th man for the doubleheader, he fired six stellar innings of one-run ball, ensuring the Yankees completed a sweep with an 8-2 victory over the Guardians at Progressive Field.

“Just being back out there on a major league field, it’s such a privilege and not a guarantee,” he said. “Just very thankful to be able to be out there tonight.”

Working efficiently on an 80-pitch limit, Cody Poteet maximized his outing to preserve New York’s bullpen for the twinbill’s second game. He struck out four without issuing a walk, with the lone blemish a solo homer to former Yankee Estevan Florial.

Cody Poteet’s dominant showing validated the Yankees’ January decision to bolster their starting depth by signing him after losing arms in the Juan Soto blockbuster trade. He had flashed that potential during an impressive spring before opening 2024 in Triple-A.

“I always had the belief in myself that I was a major league starting pitcher,” the Yankees pitcher said. “Just [went] out there tonight and put a good foot forward. It’s a good step forward for the rest of the year. Just thankful for the opportunity.”

Cody Poteet is pitching for the Yankees in Game 2 of doubleheader in Cleveland on April 13, 2024.

Cody Poteet answers the Yankees’ call in a brilliant way

When the call came Friday afternoon that he was needed in Cleveland, a blend of excitement and nerves ensued for Cody Poteet during his overnight flight. But once on the mound, he hardly looked like someone making his first big league start in nearly two years.

Due to Friday’s rainout, Saturday’s doubleheader against the Cleveland Guardians provided an opportunity for experienced pitcher Cody Poteet to showcase his skills. Poteet was called upon by the New York Yankees as their “emergency arm” for the second game, brought onto the roster specifically for this purpose. The Yankees had already clinched the first game with a tight 3-2 victory.

In a moment of need, the relatively unheralded Cody Poteet stepped up huge, giving the Yankees’ rotation a tremendous boost while padding their winning streak. If he can build on this outing, the right-hander may have carved out a larger role.

“To go six in the second game of a doubleheader, huge outing,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He pitched. That’s what we know we got. He did a great job mixing the two-seam/four-seam [fastballs] and then with the changeup and secondary stuff to get off the barrel. Really strong effort by him.”

Choosing Cody Poteet over the anticipated Luis Gil, the Yankees’ decision was validated by the 29-year-old pitcher’s outstanding performance. Cody Poteet demonstrated remarkable efficiency, adding his name to the Yankees’ roster of quality starts this season. Across six innings, he allowed only one run on six hits. His economical pitching required just 77 pitches, with a strike rate of over two-thirds. the pitcher effectively utilized sinkers and changeups, keeping Guardians batters off balance while striking out four without issuing a single walk.

Making his first mound appearance since May 25th, 2022, this marked Cody Poteet’s comeback to the majors following a prolonged absence.

Cody Poteet is pitching for the Yankees in Game 2 of doubleheader in Cleveland on April 13, 2024.

The Yankees lineup provided ample run support for Cody Poteet, establishing an 8-0 lead by the fifth inning. However, the two runs scored in the top of the first inning were all the veteran right-hander required. Poteet set the tone for the evening in the bottom half of the first, retiring Steven Kwan, Andres Gimenez, and Jose Ramirez in order with just nine pitches.

Despite first six batters were struck out, a glimmer of hope for Cleveland appeared in the third inning when David Fry led off with a single. However, Cody Poteet promptly shut down any potential rally by retiring the next three batters, leaving Fry stranded on base. The Yankees then took command in the top of the fourth, scoring four runs. Undeterred, the pitcher continued his dominance in the bottom half of the inning, requiring only 11 pitches to silence the Cleveland offense. A double play induced by Josh Naylor capped off a commanding inning for the pitcher.

Cody Poteet not flawless but a strategic asset

Although Cody Poteet wasn’t flawless in the bottom of the fifth, conceding a solo home run to former Yankee prospect Estevan Florial, the impact was limited. The Yankees’ offensive surge had already provided him with a comfortable eight-run cushion. Cody Poteet also gave up a double to Gabriel Arias in the inning, but any potential threat was swiftly neutralized when he induced Brayan Rocchio to ground out on the very next pitch, leaving Arias stranded on base.

Cody Poteet encountered his only challenge in the sixth inning when Kwan and Naylor singled, momentarily putting Cleveland runners on first and second. However, he stayed composed, sandwiching those hits between a pair of flyouts. To conclude his impressive performance, the right-hander unleashed a sharp, off-the-plate slider that struck out Ramon Laureano swinging, decisively ending any potential Cleveland threat at Progressive Field

Cody Poteet’s outstanding performance not only shone for the Yankees but also proved to be a strategic advantage. In the previous game of the doubleheader, New York heavily relied on their bullpen after Clarke Schmidt’s five innings, necessitating a collaborative effort from Ferguson, Hamilton (who pitched two critical innings), and Holmes. However, Cody Poteet’s strong outing, combined with the Yankees’ offensive dominance, allowed the bullpen to be managed more conservatively. New York entrusted the late innings primarily to Dennis Santana for two innings and a clean inning from Ron Marinaccio, ensuring their relievers remained fresh for upcoming challenges.

Cleveland, previously holding the second-best record in the American League at 9-3 (just behind the Yankees), could only witness the formidable power of the Yankees, who now lead Major League Baseball with an impressive 12-3 record, marking their best 15-game start since the memorable 2003 season.

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