Yankees pitcher Ron Marinaccio feels Toms River pride
NEW YORK — Imagine being a lifelong Yankees fan and fulfilling a dream of throwing in the stripes — with your major league debut against the Boston Red Sox.
At Yankee Stadium, in front of a full house.
This scene unfolded on Saturday afternoon for Ron Marinaccio, though it might not have been the most nerve-wracking moment of his day.
Awarded the ‘championship belt’ in a post-game celebration of the Yanks’ 4-2 victory, Marinaccio again experienced nervousness when he had to address the team.
“I just said that I’m not very talkative, I’m a little speechless. But it’s a pleasure to be part of a good team win and a pleasure to be here with everyone.”
live a dream
The soft-spoken right-hander from Toms River pitched a scoreless fourth inning, relieving Luis Severino, clearing that first hurdle after a four-pitch walk to Trevor Story.
“I love his makeup, so I knew he would pull it off,” Aaron Boone said.
The Yankees manager praised first baseman Anthony Rizzo and catcher Kyle Higashioka for a well-timed trip to the mound to remind the rookie, “You’re on this team because you’re more than capable.”
Marinaccio responded by striking out the next three batters — two on strikeouts — with dozens of family and friends in attendance.
“It was surreal. It only gets more perfect in movies than that,” Marinaccio said.
“And at Yankee Stadium, an exciting game and we flip it…you feel the vibe in the clubhouse now, it’s a fun vibe.”
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Speaking outside his locker ahead of Sunday’s series finale against Boston, Marinaccio, 26, said he spent a low-key Saturday night celebrating, dining at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan with his fiancée, brother and a few friends.
“Nothing crazy,” Marinaccio said. “It’s just good to be with a few friends I’ve grown up with all my life, from the same street I grew up on.”
Toms River reacts
Marinaccio said he is “still catching up” on the deluge of text messages he has received since his big league debut.
“It looks like it keeps filling up, but it’s nice to see,” Marinaccio said. “It’s mostly people from New Jersey, people from Toms River, Ocean County in general. Everyone is excited.
One of the highlights was a text from Todd Frazier, the Toms River game and All-Star third baseman for the Cincinnati Reds who went on to play with the Yankees and Mets.
“I’ve always known him, obviously — he’s been a huge role model for me,” Marinaccio said of Frazier, who officially retired from baseball the day Marinaccio made the matchday roster. opening of the Yankees.
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As a 40-man player, Marinaccio was unable to practice at Yankee Stadium or the club’s compound in Tampa, Fla., during MLB’s 99-day lockdown.
That’s when Frazier contacted Marinaccio and invited him to use the new indoor batting cage at his Toms River home.
Todd Frazier Login
“I know it’s hard to find places to throw in Jersey in the offseason, so feel free to come anytime you want,” Frazier said of Marinaccio, a 19th-round draft pick for the Yanks in 2017, from the University of Delaware.
During those winter sessions working on his fastball, slider and change, Marinaccio made sure to commit Frazier to life in the majors.
“(I was asking him what a big league clubhouse was like, what to expect,” Marinaccio said. “And he gave me good advice that I took on board this year.”
As Marinaccio battled his nerves and the Red Sox roster, Frazier “sat on his couch watching the game, recording my outing and cheering me on.
“It’s surreal for me,” Marinaccio said. “Because I grew up watching Todd Frazier for so many years…it was pretty cool.”
Pete Caldera is the author of Yankees beats for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, transactions and more, please sign up today and download our app.