Yankees’ Gio Urshela after pinch-hit, game-winning homer: ‘You’ve got to be ready all the time’

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela
Sep 30, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela (29) celebrates his grand slam in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Since he injured his knee last week against the Houston Astros, New York Yankees’ Gio Urshela has been somewhat banged up, in and out of the lineup. He continues to perform at a high level, which is why the Bombers need him more than ever, especially with injuries starting to pile on.

In fact, Urshela opened last night’s game on the bench, between the trainer’s table and the weight room of the hosts, the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees’ infielder was called upon to pinch-hit in the seventh inning with his team down a couple of runs. He faced Travis Lakins Sr., in what went on to be a nine-pitch at-bat that culminated in a three-run shot that gave the Bombers a lead they would not relinquish.

“You’ve got to be ready, all the time, from pitch one,” Urshela said. “I was warming up in the innings before that, just trying to keep my body warm and be ready for every opportunity.”

The Yankees’ infielder is still battling knee issues

Urshela’s knee was swollen in the past few days, but it subsided just enough for him to make that pinch-hit appearance.

“Off the bench or not, it was one of those really good at-bats,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told MLB.com. “It was a huge spot in the game, a couple of runners out there. To foul off [five] pitches and then absolutely get into one, it was just a big-time at-bat by a really good player. I’m glad I had that sitting over there tonight as a weapon.”

It was Urshela’s fifth homer of the year, one that was good enough for him to keep a 22-game streak of reaching base alive.

“I’m just trying to bring that confidence every single day that I play,” Urshela said. “Today I felt more comfortable; I did some treatment and all that. I feel a lot better.”