On Wednesday, the New York Yankees signed from Seattle Mariners reliever Tony Zych to a minor league contract. The Yankees have added potential depth to the pitching staff with the 6′ 3″ right-hander. Zych made his major league debut in 2015 but has not pitched in the last two years. He has been recovering from an injury to his Thoracic outlet, which is the space between the collarbone and ribs. When he last pitched, he had a very long beard that made him look like a backwoodsman, which he will shave per the Yankees appearance policy.
From 2015 to 2017, while with the Mariners in 72 2/3 innings, he pitched to an ERA of 2.72 while throwing a fastball in the high nineties. His career ERA is 3.73 since 2011.
The Chicago native was picked in the fourth round of the 2008 draft by his hometown Chicago Cubs. Baseball American has an old scouting report on him. “He has worked at 94-97 mph all season, with a high of 99. His fastball gets on hitters quickly thanks to some funk in his delivery. Zych’s arm action isn’t pretty and puts some stress on his shoulder, but it adds to his deception and doesn’t hamper his control. … Has the mental toughness to handle late-inning assignments … Doesn’t miss as many bats as he should because his fastball can get straight, and his slider can flatten out.”
Zych has two distinctions; one is that he will be reuniting with Chad Green, who was a college teammate of Zych. The other distinction is somewhat historic.
The 29-year-old Zych went into the baseball history books when he made his debut with Seattle. He broke the 105-year-old record for having a name that placed him as the very last in the alphabetical list of major league players.
When the Chicago Tribune interviewed him in 2015, he said about the record: “It’s really cool to set a record, but I didn’t do anything but show up. Now I hope to do something on the field to make me stay up here a lot longer.” According to how he does in the minors, Yankee fans my see him at some point in the season.