TAMPA, Fla. -- Danny Farquhar, the New York Yankees reliever making a dramatic return to pitching, may be close to finally appearing in a game for the first time since last April, when he was hospitalized due to a brain hemorrhage.
Following a strong outing in a simulated game Sunday, Farquhar faced another series of Yankees batters inside George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday morning as he made a second sim game appearance.
Pleased with his work both days, Farquhar is expecting to pitch in Saturday's spring training game at the Pittsburgh Pirates' complex in Bradenton, Florida. It would be the first game he's pitched in since being taken to Chicago's Rush Hospital after an outing for the White Sox last April.
"I'm ready for a real game," Farquhar said. "I saw my name on the board for Saturday, and I was freaking out this morning when I saw it."
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild wouldn't say when Farquhar might get into a game, nor if that was, in fact, the next step in his return. Rothschild simply said, "We'll see how he feels tomorrow and go from there."
Farquhar threw 21 pitches in Wednesday's sim game, facing minor league catchers Kellin Deglan and Francisco Diaz. Diaz had hit against Farquhar on Sunday, in a sim game in which the pitcher struck out two batters, walked another and induced a weak, shallow fly ball that likely would have been caught had fielders been present.
The results were more mixed Wednesday, as Farquhar struck out three, induced a weak, check-swing ground ball, and allowed Deglan to hit a homer to right and Diaz to launch a high, deep fly ball to the left-field wall. Because of the height of the batted ball, most present at the sim game believed that one would have been caught with fielders present, too.
The home run offered Farquhar a lesson.
"It was a learning experience not to throw 2-0 fastballs right down the middle because they'll get hit very far," Farquhar said, laughing. "But I felt my changeup was excellent today. Fastball was good. And curveball was OK, but good overall."
Rothschild has been pleased with the three-pitch array the pitcher has showcased throughout camp.
"He's gotten more and more comfortable," Rothschild said. "The fastball's got life, he's able to move it around up and down, the changeup's really good. The curveball's a usable pitch."
Just as they were on Sunday, Farquhar's wife, Lexie, and children, Madison (7), Landon (3) and Liam (1), were present in the stands.
As Farquhar walked off the mound and back into the Yankees' dugout, Madison shouted loudly: "Daddy!" Hearing her voice, Farquhar looked up, smiled broadly and waved at his family.
"It's my favorite part about being out here, is having them cheer me on," Farquhar said. "You definitely see everything in rose-colored glasses [now]. Just waking up and seeing the sun, it's exciting. Waking up the kids in the morning, carrying them down the stairs to get in the car to take me to the field at, like, 6:40 is awesome, as dreadful as it sounds.
"Then coming to the field and stretching, I love every part of it."