Russell Wilson's Yankees debut didn't go so well
Unlike Tim Tebow, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t actually supposed to play baseball.
The New York Yankees “traded” for Wilson — obtaining him from the Texas Rangers — because they thought he’d provide some leadership in a relatively young clubhouse.
Wilson, who played college baseball for North Carolina State, arrived at the major league camp on Monday, and has even participated in batting practice sessions with his new teammates.
Of course, the Yankees were hesitant to put him in an actual game because they feared the Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowler might accidentally hurt himself.
On Friday, they finally decided to give him a chance, letting him pinch-hit for reigning Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Fortunately, Wilson didn’t get hurt, though he also didn’t do a whole lot to convince people he’s ready for the majors.
Facing Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried, Wilson struck out swinging.
However, it wasn’t all bad for the star quarterback. Before going down on a fastball clocked at 93 miles an hour, he did manage to foul off the first pitch he saw, and eventually worked the count to two balls and two strikes.
What’s more, the home crowd seemed to really enjoy the cameo.
The Yankees had previously said they probably wouldn’t put Wilson in during a game. But speaking to reporters prior to Friday’s contest, Wilson said there was a chance he could play.
“It could happen today. It could happen tomorrow. It could not happen at all,” he said while laughing, according to ESPN. “But when it happens — I’ll be ready if it happens.”
And focusing on baseball hasn’t made Wilson forget to train for the upcoming NFL season.
“The reality is I’ve always been working out, always training,” Wilson said. “They know that’s part of my game. I’m definitely not sitting on the couch.”
Meanwhile, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis that he has no issue with Wilson venturing into baseball, though he did note that he hopes his quarterback develops a better hitting approach.
“He’s not doing a great job of going with pitches away from him,” Carroll said. “We are hoping he will start putting the ball into right field a little bit more, you know? We want him to go with the pitch. Aside from that, the curveball is still giving him a problem, like it always did, you know, back in the day. So we will see what happens.”
Friday’s at-bat was the first time Wilson has appeared in a professional baseball game since 2011. At the time, he was part of the Colorado Rockies farm system.
Over a two-year minor league career, Wilson has hit .229, according to Sports Illustrated.
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