Urick Is "The Odd Man Out"

Urick's Release Comes As A Shock

One of the more shocking surprises to come out of the 2006 roster shuffle was the unexpected release of John Urick on Sunday. Averaging nearly 30 doubles and 13 home runs over the equivalency of two full minor league seasons, possessing one of the better eyes at the plate, and one of the better defensive first baseman in the organization, Urick talked to us about his release.

"I really thought I was a lock to make the Trenton team," John Urick told us the morning after being released by the Yankees. "I thought the worst case scenario would be I'd see a bunch of at-bats as the designated hitter with Shelley Duncan back in Trenton. I think everybody, except Mark Newman, was shocked when I got released."

The grandson of the legendary Whitey Herzog, Urick is quite knowledgeable about the inner workings of the business of baseball. But after having a tremendous Spring Training, where he even hit a home run to deep right center field in his first official Spring at-bat, nobody was more surprised about his release than John Urick himself.

"It was actually kind of funny because when they sat me down to tell me I was released, they didn't even tell me anything bad," Urick told us. "They told me what a great Spring I was having and they knew I could play. It was just that with some of the guys that were trickling down, that Shelley [Duncan] would be going to Trenton and they didn't think they could get me at-bats at AA and I was the odd man out."

"I guess they wanted to go with the older guys and they told me that I had nothing to prove at the A level, so they were releasing me," Urick added. "The Yankees were good about it though. They told me they were going to do everything in their power to get me a job with somebody else."

Even with nothing to prove at the A-level, Urick's outright release in favor of some other prospects still comes a shock. The consumate optimist, Urick, instead of sulking, is looking at the positive side of his release.

"This could be a blessing in disguise," Urick said. "A lot of guys are looking for ways to get out of the Yankees' organization because our opportunities are limited. I'm ready to start the season and now I have nowhere to play. Getting released is part of the game, but the timing of it is what really stinks. But I'm confident in my abilities and I know my career is not done."

"My agent is talking to other teams already about who needs either a first baseman or a left-handed bat," Urick added. "It might take me a few weeks to sign on with somebody or I might even have to go the Independent League route, but I know I'm not done."

For those who have followed John Urick's career, or even have had the great fortune of talking to him, it won't come as a shock if he is scooped up by another organization quickly and he immediately makes an impact elsewhere. One of the classiest people around, one who fit the Yankee mystique, it will be odd to see Urick in another uniform however.

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