Rasner Trying To Find His Role With Yankees
Rasner Is Searching For His Niche
Rasner Is Searching For His Niche

Posted Apr 12, 2006


The thought of entering into a new organization while playing in a different environment should consistently be expected, however, isn’t usually forecasted on your daily agenda. That idea became reality for Darrell Rasner who had been informed he was headed for Columbus. Rasner, claimed off waivers from Washington on February 11, has learned that he will be on a completely different stage if and when he arrives in New York.

Darrell Rasner, most likely, won’t be a superstar in the big leagues, however, without question has the potential to become a big league, big time contributor.

It was only a year ago when Rasner was pitching with Double-A Harrisburg. As a member of the Washington Nationals, he made his Major League debut last season against Florida and his performance didn’t go as anticipated. He went 2.2IP, giving up four hits, three earned runs and two walks while striking out one. Yet, he finished the season 10th in the Eastern League with a 3.59 ERA.

Granted he had a rough time in the big leagues his first time around, any pitcher possessing the ability to make the leap from Double-A to the majors will not be unnoticed and it certainly wasn’t concerning the Yankees. Although Rasner’s future with the big club appears to be a bit fuzzy, he is determined to find his niche within the organization.

“Being a team player, doing what I can do, doing my best and helping my team win, that’s my main focus right now,” said Rasner.

Establishing a particular role within the Yankee organization has become increasingly vital. If there was a precise formula for this, improvement at every level, including AAA, would usually be the first step of the process. Pitching coach Neil Allen agrees.

Allen said Rasner has stepped up and risen to the challenge every time he takes the hill. Allen continued in saying that Rasner has carried over his game from Spring Training quite nice and if he continues to stay tall, he will be consistent with his game and may receive a phone call from New York.

Rasner throws a repertoire of pitches that may enable him to contribute at the Major League level. He was certainly effective Monday night even without the win ,allowing only three hits and a run, while striking out eleven in his first start of the season.

Rasner will throw a fastball, curveball, changeup and occasionally a cutter. He’ll get his fastball up to a velocity between 86-91 miles per hour. When you have the ability to mix your pitches and keep the opposing hitters off balance like Rasner can, it makes that high 80’s fastball extremely deceiving.

“Being more consistent with my pitches is going to determine the success that I have,” said Rasner.

Of course after an unsuccessful run with the Nationals, Rasner undoubtedly has an extra incentive to prove he can make it in the big leagues right? Wrong.

Every player has their own prerogative and Rasner possesses a more even-keel approach. Sure he’s disappointed the first time around didn’t go according as planned, however, it brings out the mental toughness a player at this level must have in their arsenal.

Along with toughness, his calm demeanor and willingness to win at all costs is a reflection of the Yankee organization as a whole. Rasner said that being let go from Washington was a driving force to succeed at first but currently, is simply concentrating on performing his best for the team day in and day out. If Rasner continues to throw gems like he did Monday night, an extra incentive to succeed will be non-existent.

The right-hander makes it known that improvement is an integral part of his daily routine. The need to improve on a consistent basis at this level is an understatement to say the least.

There are a handful of pitchers on the Clippers who are all vying for a roster spot in the Bronx and surely some, if not all, depending on their progression, will not achieve their ultimate goal. It is fair to say that Rasner is among this group. Allen said that if he continues to pitch like he did Monday night, his best is only ahead of him.

“If Darrell continues to throw strikes with all his pitches, they’re going to find a spot for him in New York,” said Allen.

Upon reaching the Yankees, a baseball player must not only become familiar with the Bronx but with his own teammates as well. Throughout history, we’ve seen at first glance what a player’s role along with chemistry can do.

If Rasner continues on and sticks it out with the Yankees he will take some bumps and bruises in the beginning. However, he gives a good indication that the team is consistently the ultimate focus and with that mentality, he could be a step ahead of the game.

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