Last Updated on September 14, 2023 at 6:04 am by John Allen
Seventeen years ago, the New York Yankees drafted Zach McAllister in the third round of the MLB draft, adding him to a notable class that featured talents like Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, and Mark Melancon, among others.
Fast forward to Tuesday, McAllister finally realized his dream of making his debut for the Yankees, a journey that took him on a lengthy and circuitous route.
At the age of 35, McAllister, who had reached as far as Triple-A with the Yankees before being traded out of the organization in 2010 in exchange for Austin Kearns, took the mound and delivered a scoreless inning against the Red Sox during the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Fenway Park.
McAllister mentioned that it felt like a full-circle experience for him. He stated that he had reached every level except the big leagues when he was with the Yankees previously. So, being able to pitch in the pinstripes and facing Boston was something he would always remember.
McAllister’s dream comes true
Zach McAllister’s remarkable 17-year journey from being drafted by the Yankees to finally making his debut with the team stands as the most extended hiatus in the franchise’s history, according to data from the Elias Sports Bureau.
During this extensive gap, McAllister made 277 appearances for the Cleveland team, including an appearance in the 2016 World Series, and three appearances for the Tigers up until 2018. Prior to Tuesday’s game, McAllister had not set foot on an MLB field since August 16, 2018.
Subsequently, he persevered through a challenging path that encompassed multiple minor league assignments across six different organizations and battled through injuries to once again take the mound in the majors.
In 2019, McAllister endured a lat tear, and the following year, he faced a fracture in his right humerus. Both injuries required demanding rehabilitation processes. McAllister described it as a lengthy process that took longer than anticipated, but he emphasized that Tuesday’s experience made all the effort and wait worthwhile.
First MLB appearance in 5 years
During his initial MLB appearance in 1,854 days on Tuesday, McAllister had the support of his wife in the stands. Coincidentally, in the opposing dugout stood his brother-in-law, who serves as the Red Sox’s first-base coach, Kyle Hudson.
These family members were among the numerous individuals who stood by McAllister and provided unwavering encouragement throughout his arduous journey back to the major leagues.
McAllister credited the support of his family, friends, and his wife for encouraging him to persist. He explained that making adjustments to his arm slot had a significant impact on his performance. He reflected on last year as a crucial turning point, where he had the choice to continue competing and getting out or be content with his career. Ultimately, he decided to continue competing and make the most of his opportunity.
The Yankees clubhouse held a deep respect and admiration for both McAllister and Matt Bowman, the latter of whom made his first MLB appearance since 2019 during Tuesday’s game.
Manager Aaron Boone acknowledged that not everyone possesses the determination and resilience to persevere in their careers. He credited McAllister and others for refusing to let their journeys come to an end and for their commitment to continue pursuing success.
According to Boone, Jonathan Loaisiga‘s right elbow is currently experiencing “certain issues.” This revelation comes a day after the reliever was placed on the IL, effectively ending his season. Although Boone couldn’t provide precise details, he mentioned that had the injury occurred earlier in the season, Loaisiga would have been instructed to refrain from throwing for “several weeks.”
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