Rasner Making A Name For Himself

"I owe a lot to my teammates."

After a brief stint with the Nationals in 2005, Darrell Rasner achieved his ultimate goal of making it back to the big leagues. Since his promotion to New York on 5/31, Rasner made only one appearance out of the bullpen before landing himself on the Disabled List. The Columbus Clippers rotation has failed to produce quality starts and Rasner has been the primary anchor with his recent success.

When pitching with the Clippers, Darrell Rasner has defined consistency, a word that does not easily come to mind with the Triple-A club in all phases of the game, especially pitching. He compiled a 4-0 record with a 2.56 ERA in nine starts this season. Opponents are hitting a mere .259 off the right-hander and even that fails to tell the whole story.

Without being selfish, it's fairly safe to say that Rasner doesn't have any intention of clearing his calendar for some trips to Columbus any time soon, however, his recent injury to his shoulder may put a minor damper on things.

Rasner's placement on the DL was extremely unfortunate as it would have been interesting to see the success he might have produced over the long haul after dominating at the Triple-A level like he has this season.

Rasner credits his preparation for much of the success he has had in the first several months of the season. He says that he doesn't deserve all the credit, however, for the level of consistency he has brought to the Columbus rotation.

Rasner told PinstripesPlus.com, "Sticking to the game plan and preparing well for each start have helped me a lot this season. I owe a lot to my teammates. They've scored runs and have played great defense. They've played well behind me."

In Rasner's five appearances with the Nationals last season, flashes of solidity were often displayed, however, never to this extent. In this his fifth professional season, Rasner has never possessed an ERA over five, yet, this season has become his coming-out party. He will be the first to tell you that statistics aren't all what they're cracked up to be.

"I don't really pay attention to stats or anything. I try to win and keep my team in the game, which is the most important thing. I want to be able to stay in there as long as I can to save the bullpen," said Rasner.

A complete and effective repertoire for a young pitcher is more often than not a key ingredient in making the leap to the big leagues. There is always that one pitch that drives a hurler to the top of his game and Rasner has found it.

"I've been working hard on developing a changeup this year. It has helped me so much this season and has made me a far better pitcher," admitted Rasner.

When we spoke with Rasner prior to his recent promotion to the Bronx, he was eager and motivated to get his shot and show the organization what he knew he was capable of. Rasner has already overcome many obstacles at this stage of his career and the recent shoulder injury is just another mountain he will have to climb.

His only appearance in pinstripes has been the work of 1.2IP of shutout ball, giving up one hit while striking out one. It may sound harmless, however, it gives the organization a feeling that Rasner may have the ability to provide added depth to the bullpen as well as the rotation. Depth to the Yankee pitching staff has never been more evident than in 2006 and the rise of Rasner this season has come at a perfect time.

With his previous big league experience in Washington last season, Rasner has developed a new spark of confidence. Rasner admits he was plagued with jitters last season.

"I think the experience factor has definitely helped me out a lot this season. I got the jitters out of the way," said Rasner.

Rasner has mentioned in the past that he will fill any type of role that the Yankees have in store for him. He is fortunate that he has the ability to not only pitch in the rotation, but the bullpen as well. It is quite foreseeable in the near future that a spot starter will be a need of the Yankees and of course there is Aaron Small, however, a big league club can never have enough depth.

"Whatever role I need to play is what I will contribute to the team," said Rasner.

Since the early days of the 2006 season, Darrell Rasner making it up to New York by the end of May was not envisioned by many within the Yankee organization. It's tough to tell whether Rasner will battle back from the DL and become a consistent contributor for New York in some form.

However, one thing is for sure. He has been a pleasant surprise to this point and anything he can provide to the New York Yankees will be an added bonus.

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