Thursday, July 6, 2017


"Ji-Man is a He-Man! Oh boy, oh Choi!"

Photo: Getty Images
So went John Sterling's home run call for Ji-Man Choi's first hit as a New York Yankee,  a 457-foot two-run mortar round to the right field bleachers that, according to the Daily News, "even astonished slugger Aaron Judge."

"That was awesome. You see how far he hit that ball?” said Judge, who also homered in the Yankees’ 7-6 loss to the Jays. “That was incredible. He had some good at-bats. He was battling. He just kept putting the ball in play, and there’s nothing more you can ask for.”

“I’m happy with the start I had,” Choi said after the game. “I’m looking forward to building on what I did.”

(July 4, 2017 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)     
When informed of MLB's Statcast distance for the return trip he'd sent Jays starter Marco Estrada's  fastball on, Choi simply said: "As long as it goes over the wall, it all counts the same.”

Choi made solid contact in all four of his plate appearances, just missing a likely single on a hard comebacker in the sixth inning off reliever Aaron Loup.

"He did fine. He had good at-bats,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He hit a ball hard off a lefty, as well, up the middle. If it’s not kicked by the pitcher, it’s probably another base hit.”

Photo: Getty Images
Choi, who was brought up from the Triple A RailRiders on Tuesday to replace the now twice-cut Chris Carter, became the seventh different first baseman to start for the Yankees this season, and  joined Clint Frazier as the second Yankee to homer in his pinstripe debut this week.

Whether Choi is just a bridge until the return of the injured Tyler Austin, a placeholder until a deadline deal can be made for someone outside the organization or an unexpected diamond in the rough who  turns out to be the Yankees' first baseman the rest of the way  this season, nobody can say for certain right now.

All I know for sure is I wrote THIS on Monday, the next day the Yankees bounced Carter and brought up Choi, and the day after that Choi stepped right into his new role, didn't make an error and  made a major contribution to a gritty team comeback.

It's really gratifying when your team responds to your fan mail so promptly. It almost makes you feel like they're actually listening to you.


"Dear Brian, Thank you for the Ji-Man call up. So far so good.

(Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America)    

"When you have a minute or two to spare, I've got some thoughts about Michael Pineda..."

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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