TAMPA, FL — It has been a long time coming for Dominican right-hander Rafael DePaula. After first…
DePaula Ready To Work
"Thank God this is resolved and I can move forward. I was very happy to hear from the team officials that I was coming here [to the United States] and my family was ecstatic too."
It certainly wasn't easy for him having to sit back and wait. Unable to help provide for his family in the Dominican Republic while he waited and waited for sixteen long months during a time in which he wasn't allowed to be paid to play, DePaula admits the long-term benefits could have been worth it.
"I never lost confidence," he said. "I was always thinking that it was going to get resolved, that someday somehow it would be behind me and that I would need to be ready once that day came. I kept working and working and that day came."
That day came on March 26th when he officially signed after passing his physical and it ended a long string of private workouts on the back fields of the Yankees' Dominican complex for what seemed like forever.
"I was working out at the Yankees [Dominican] complex pretty much every day. I was separated from the group. I obviously wasn't with ‘the team' but everyday I was working on my pitches and my command."
He had a chance to showcase those pitches and command last Friday in a simulated game but he reportedly was quite wild on the mound, although it was the first "game" he pitched in an extended period of time.
"I was very nervous," he said with a smile. "I was ecstatic to be on the field for the first time. It wasn't the outcome that I wanted but the emotion got the best of me."
Able to quickly put his less than stellar simulated game debut behind him, DePaula is only looking forward these days and he already has his goals in mind for Extended Spring Training.
"I control the curveball very well," he opined. "I have to work on controlling the fastball and work on my changeup, that's the biggest thing for me.
"I feel confident that I can do it, I just need the chance. Once I get the chance I'm going to try and make it happen."
With everything he went through though during this extraordinary circumstance, he says it only makes him want to work that much harder going forward.
"I hope the best for the future. I'm going to work hard. I'm happy to be here and I'm ready to work," he concluded.
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