NEW YORK—His path had taken him to three different teams in five days, jumping from the minors to the major league, but Yankees reliever Cory Wade didn’t mind at all. Being able to pitch again in MLB, and even pick up his first win in over two years, was a just reward.
“It’s been about (two) years since the last time I was up in the big leagues and to be able to come back and help this team, it’s been fun,” Wade said.
One day after pitching in his first MLB game since 2009, Wade picked up the win with two perfect innings of relief in the Yankees 3-2 win over the Rangers in 12 innings Thursday in the Bronx. Wade last won a game in the majors on June 13, 2009.
“It’s kind of been a whirlwind,” Wade said. “Just trying to soak it all in and understand what’s happening. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to come over and pitch and try to help the team win.”
Wade pitched for the Dodgers from 2008-10, including a 2008 season in which he had a 2.27 ERA in 71.1 innings. He missed several months with an injury in 2010, never reaching the majors, before signing with Tampa Bay as a minor league free agent in November.
The 28-year-old had an opt-out clause in his contract that would allow him to opt out of his deal if he didn’t reach the majors by a certain date and the Rays ended up releasing Wade on June 12. Wade had been playing with the AAA Durham Bulls.
The Yankees snatched him up and signed him Monday, sending him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, before promoting him Wednesday, when he made his Pinstripes debut with a scoreless inning or relief.
“It was kind of perfect timing with how everything happened and it was a lucky situation,” Wade said. “Tampa let me out and the Yankees needed some relief pitching and it just all kind of came together.”
Thursday, Wade entered the tied game in the 11th inning, taking care of the bottom of the Rangers lineup. He didn’t know if he would be called back for a second inning of work, but was asked how he felt, and when he said he felt good, he was thrust back into action.
He again retired the side in order, including a strikeout of Rangers lefty slugger Josh Hamilton. The Yankees won the game in the bottom of the inning, giving Wade the win. Wade said it helped that he was throwing to Yankees catcher Russell Martin, who used to catch him when the two were teammates on the Dodgers.
“He’s back. He’s probably even better than the last time I saw him. Reminds me of him in 2008,” Martin said. “He had a great year in 2008 and he looks like he’s got his stuff. He’s got command of his changeup, his fastball. He’s the type of guy that can throw any pitch, any count and that’s why he’s tough to hit.”
Wade said he was not disappointed that Tampa Bay released him, understanding there wasn't a spot for him with the the team. He appreciated that the Rays let him out of the deal early and gave him a chance to latch on with another club, which ended up being the Yankees.
It’s a move that’s working out well for him so far.
“I’m just trying to make the best out of the situation,” Wade said. “I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to come over here and pitch and that’s all I’m trying to do is help the team win.”