Volpe kisses pinstripes in Yanks debut, 5-0 win over Giants
By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Volpe heard the Bleacher Creatures chant his name during his first Roll Call, and the 21-year-old New York Yankees shortstop turned toward the right field seats, raised his glove hand in tribute and with his right hand lifted the interlocking “NY” crest of his jersey to his lips.
“It was probably the most fun day in my entire life,” Volpe said. “I probably had goosebumps the whole day.”
Volpe went 0 for 2 with a walk, stolen base and two nice defensive plays in his major league debut, a 5-0 opening-day win over the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
Aaron Judge followed his record-setting 2022 by homering on his first swing as Yankees captain and Gerrit Cole (1-0) struck out 11 in six scoreless innings. Gleyber Torres added a two-run, opposite-field homer to right in the fourth and Judge blooped an RBI broken-bat single in a two-run seventh that included DJ LeMahieu’s run-scoring single.
Volpe grew up a Yankees fan in Manhattan and his family moved to New Jersey when he was in the fourth grade. He attended Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey, and was selected by the Yankees with the 30th overall pick in the 2019 amateur draft.
He earned the shortstop job during spring training after just 22 games of Triple-A experience. The decibel level increased markedly when he was introduced before the game and again when Volpe came to the plate for the first time leading off the third inning.
“I almost felt like he was chasing 62 there for his first at-bat, the way the crowd was,” Judge said.
In his new role of Yankees captain, Judge gave Volpe some advice Wednesday while they were together in the clubhouse.
“I was kind of ragging him a little bit,” Judge recalled. “I said, ‘Man, I know you’re a big Yankee fan, but you got to have something special for those Bleacher Creatures.’”
That’s when Volpe came up with the crest kiss.
“I kind of just thought of it on the spot, just ‘cause I remember he did it last year,” Volpe said. “He gave me the thumbs-up, so I knew that’s what I had to do.”
Volpe stayed in Manhattan on Wednesday night, got to the stadium about 8:45 a.m. and took photos of the ballpark exterior with his phone that he shared with his parents. About 60 family members attended the game.
He walked, grounded out and struck out. Volpe made a fine defensive play in the fourth, coming in to field Thairo Estrada’s three-hopper, and he started a double play on Wilmer Flores’ sixth-inning grounder.
Volpe switched from from No. 77 to No. 11 after calling former Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and asking for permission to take the number, last used by Gardner in 2021.
“His impact on the clubhouse to this day is ginormous,” Volpe said. “Obviously we have leaders in the clubhouse but I think he played a huge role in making those players leaders and taking them under their wing the same way those guys are now taking me under their wing.”
Logan Webb (0-1) set a Giants opener strikeout record with 12, one more than Madison Bumgarner in 2017.
Cole broke the Yankees opener strikeout mark of nine by Tim Leary in 1991. Among those he fanned was his brother-in-law, Brandon Crawford.
Cole and Webb joined Dave McNally and Sam McDowell in 1970, and Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom in 2019 as the only opposing starters with double-digit strikeouts in an opener since 1901.
Wandy Peralta, Jonathan Loáisiga and Ron Marinaccio finshed a four-hitter for the Yankees first opening-day shutout win since 1988.
On the first day of the pitch clock, there was just one violation, on J.D. Davis at the plate in the ninth. The game took 2 hours, 33 minutes.
Michael Conforto went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts in his Giants debut.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler on Wednesday visited the site of the Polo Grounds, the Giants’ home from 1891-1957. The Giants opened in New York for the first time since beating Pittsburgh 4-3 in 1956, their next-to-last season before moving to California.
UP NEXT New York RHP Clarke Schmidt and San Francisco RHP Alex Cobb are scheduled to start Saturday, when rain is forecast.
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