DeCarr learning from Yankees as rookie
In just one year, Austin DeCarr has gone from Westwood to Connecticut to Tampa, and has his sights set on reaching the Bronx someday.
A dramatic change in his life began last month, when DeCarr, a Foxborough native and 2013 graduate of Xaverian Brothers High, was chosen by the New York Yankees in the third round of the Major League Baseball draft.
The 6 foot, 2 inch, right-handed pitcher signed with the Yankees for $1 million, opting out of a full scholarship at Clemson University. The signing bonus was nearly double the salary recommended by MLB for a 91st pick.
Within a week, DeCarr was brushing elbows with a rehabbing CC Sabathia in the weight room at the Yankees minor league complex, and eagerly taking advice from Andrew Bailey, a former Red Sox pitcher and the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year while a closer with Oakland.
“I’m getting back into a routine, getting a lot of work in, and learning a lot,” said DeCarr, whose stock improved this spring after a dominant prep season at the Salisbury School in Connecticut, where his fastball reached 97 miles per hour and he struck out 19 batters in a game.
After an initial evaluation period following the draft, DeCarr has made five starts for the Yankees rookie squad in the Gulf Coast League in Tampa. The Yankees plan to limit him to no more than 30 innings this summer.
“At Salisbury I was throwing seven innings almost every time out, but it was a much different circumstance,” DeCarr said. “This is obviously a job now and if that’s the plan, I’ll listen to it.”
DeCarr made his first professional start on June 28, throwing one shutout inning against the Yankees’ other Gulf Coast squad. He followed that with two no-hit innings against the Houston Astros’ Gulf team. Although he now owns a 6.00 ERA, DeCarr has impressed the Yankees brass with his work ethic and 13 strikeouts in nine innings.
“He’s a wonderful competitor and an extremely hard worker,” said his manager, Travis Chapman. “When somebody comes in who has thrown a lot of innings, the number one concern is keeping him healthy for the remainder of the season.”
DeCarr has been working on a repertoire of three pitches.
“He’s been in the low to mid-90s with the fastball and throwing the curve hard for strikes, while also able to bury it at times,” said Chapman.
DeCarr said that having veterans in camp like Bailey, who is rehabbing from shoulder surgery, has helped him to get over some rough spots, like the four runs and five hits he allowed in 1⅓ innings July 14.
“I’ve probably been hanging around with Bailey more than anyone, and I’ve learned a lot from him,” said DeCarr. “Life in professional baseball is obviously a little bit different than things I’ve experienced in the past. We’ve talked about that, and about trying not to get too up or down and staying focused on the things that I can control.”
Although the signing bonus allowed DeCarr to build up a hefty bank account at the age of 19, he’s hardly living the life of a high-paid athlete. DeCarr doesn’t have a car in Tampa and relies on teammates to get around.
When rookie ball ends, DeCarr will return to Foxborough and work out at Cressey Performance in Hudson, which specializes in elite baseball development training. The former two-sport athlete at Xaverian is also curious about what kind of squad the Hawks will field this fall.
“I’ve got to talk to (Jake) Farrell soon,” DeCarr said of his former teammate, who assumed DeCarr’s role as quarterback. “I’ll be home from September until February, so I definitely plan to get to a few games.”
The Yankees have instructed DeCarr to follow a strength conditioning program over the winter, and not to throw a baseball until early January. “The focus will be on lifting and getting a lot stronger and getting ready for spring training next year,” he said. “The time off will be good; I’ve thrown a lot this year.”
All stars vs. Taipei
Campanelli Stadium, home of the Brockton Rox, will host the Chinese Taipei national team Wednesday in an exhibition game against a team consisting of all stars from the Cranberry League and other semi-pro teams. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd will start the game for the Cranberry League all stars.
“Oil Can lives in Rhode Island and still likes to stretch his arm out occasionally,” said Brockton Rox general manager Todd Marlin. “It should be fun to see him take the mound.”
The Chinese Taipei team is in the middle of its summer tour, and beat the Seacoast Mavericks (Portsmouth, N.H.), 6-5, last week. The team is also expected to play exhibition games against teams from the Cape Cod League.
Gates open at 6 p.m. for the 7:05 start. General admission tickets cost $5.
Nantasket Beach run
Registration is open for the third annual Nantasket Beach Run, a 4-mile run at low tide on Nantasket Beach. The race begins at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 12. Registration is at the Jeanette Murray Bathhouse. Proceeds benefit Hull Boosters, which funds Hull High School sports and extracurricular activities.
For more information, call 617-851-4569 or e-mail email@example.com.
John R. Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.