Friday, May 3, 2013
His name sounds more like a character from an old southern novel, but Preston Claiborne is indeed a pitcher. Make that, Major League pitcher. The 25-year old will be donning the pinstripes of the New York Yankees this evening (Friday).
Claiborne's call up came when Joba Chamberlain was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained oblique. I'm sure Cody Eppley was getting ready for the Scranton-Bronx shuttle, but instead Eppley was designated for assignment so Claiborne could be added to the 40-man roster.
The native of Dallas, Texas was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2006 MLB amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but turned them down to attend Tulane University. The Yankees selected Claiborne in the 17th round in 2010 and the reliever put pen to paper on a deal.
Claiborne overwhelmed younger hitters in rookie ball (Staten Island) to the tune of 10.4 K/per 9 innings. That earned him a promotion to Tampa where he spent the entire 2011 season. After he posted a 2.22 ERA and struck out better than nine batters per nine innings in 498 games at Double-A Trenton, Claiborne got finished up the 2012 season at Triple-A Scranton. That's who he was playing for this season when he got the call.
In 10.1 innings pitched, Claiborne had struck 10 hitters and walked just one. That new found control may have been the ticket to his promotion. Claiborne had previously walked three or four batters per nine innings. He's likely to be used in mop and long man roles, and it should inherit the job of carrying the pink backpack of supplies from fellow rookie Vidal Nuno.