The Yankees signed Melky Cabrera out of the Dominican Republic on November 13th of 2001 for $175,000…
Hard-Working, Quiet, and Confident
A few days later, his contract was purchased by the Yankees and he spent the next six games in the big leagues. Cabrera says that he was grateful for the chance to get some at-bats at the Major League level.
"It was an amazing experience and I thank God for giving me the opportunity."
Cabrera has started this season with the Clippers, but remembers his Yankee experience. And although his spell with the Yankees was short, Cabrera thinks it has taught him a lot as a player.
"I now know what it's like to be in the Majors, I know more about the game itself, and how to play the game," said Cabrera before the season opener for the Clippers.
Cabrera's Major League experience has made him realize how much more work he needs to put into his game. Although ranked as the third best Yankee prospect by PinstripesPlus.com, when asked what he needs to improve to get to the Majors, he humbly said, "everything."
He knows he is widely regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in the Yankees system; that's why he put in extra work on his hitting in the off-season in the Dominican.
Some critics however have recently soured on Cabrera as a prospect, especially after he failed to make an impression during his brief stint with the Yankees last August, when he went 4-19 before being sent down.
He acknowledges the critics, but says they do not bother him. "Time will tell as to how I will do, but all I can do is keep working hard," Cabrera admitted.
His hard work defensively has translated into him becoming a very versatile outfielder, being able to play all three outfield positions well. And while he started Thursday's season opener and prefers center field, he is happy playing any outfield position.
"Only time will tell where I'll play [in the outfield], but wherever they put me, I'll always play," said the jovial Cabrera.
Versatility is what Cabrera prides himself on and that's why his Major League idol is Chipper Jones. Jones, like Cabrera, is a versatile switch-hitter. But before Cabrera gets to Jones's status, he's got a lot of work ahead of him, and he knows it.
He has two goals for this season with the Clippers, to help his team, and to make it back to the Majors, even for a little bit. But he's happy where he is, and enjoys spending time where he grew up, Santo Domingo.
"I put in a lot of work in the off-season in the Dominican, and I'm happy living with my family there," said Cabrera.
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