How Mariners’ Wade LeBlanc went from Yankees’ spring castoff to hot starter


Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia and pitching coach Larry Rothschild were having a chat in the bullpen early Tuesday afternoon when a familiar face walked in.
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We were just catching up, Seattle Mariners lefty Wade LeBlanc, who was with the Yankees in spring training, said the next day while relaxing at his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium before the Yankees’ 7-5 walk-off win.

This was anything but a ‘Look at me now’ moment for LeBlanc, a seasoned but unpretentious vet who has risen from the ashes of a spring Thomas Steen Womens Jersey release – a release that he admits was deserved – to become one of baseball’s hottest starters.

My stuff probably is pretty easy to hit when hitters aren’t timed up for 95-mph fastballs, LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc, who had a cup of coffee with the 2014 Yankees, never made a push for a roster spot. In seven relief outings, he DeAndre Jordan Jersey ran up a 5.27 ERA over 13 2/3 innings of work, and by late March, his agent went to the Yankees about triggering his late-spring opt-out clause early.

To be clear, things were going just fine for Scherzer. At the time of the tweak, he was 8-1 with a 2.13 ERA and off to one of the best starts in a career that seems increasingly likely to gain enshrinement in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. He had a 0.91 WHIP and was on pace to finish with more strikeouts than any pitcher in nearly 20 years.

From the outside looking in, it hardly seemed like a time to fiddle.

But Scherzer hadn’t been happy with his previous two outings. Facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in Washington, he fanned 13 in seven innings and allowed two runs but tied a season high by walking wait for it three batters. The following start at Miami, his final line showed more hits than innings pitched (gasp!), and he gave up four earned runs to force his ERA over 2.00 for the first time this season.