Lance Pendleton doesn’t have the most secure spot on the Yankees roster. He knows that. He’s pitched pretty well, but he’s still a long reliever up from Triple-A. At this point, he’s still an interchangeable part that could be replaced at any moment. But he made it to Texas, and that’s something.
Pendleton’s family lives in Houston. His parents made the four-hour drive to see their son in a big league uniform. He has friends in town for this series. His wife’s family is here. “I don’t know about satisfaction,” he said, but this weekend is one of those nice moments in the course of a young career.
“Every day, every week that I’m still here,” Pendleton said, “I’m still at the point that I’m taking things day by day. You know as much as anybody just how quickly things change, and being a bullpen guy in my position, how quickly you can go up and down. Day by day still, but real excited that we get to experience this. This is real cool.”
Pendleton grew up in Houston, went to college at Rice — where he was an outfielder his two years — and was taken by the Astros, of all teams, in the Rule 5 draft. He made it through most of big league camp with Houston before being offered back to the Yankees. They added him to the 40-man within a month of Opening Day.
Pendleton recognizes his role. He said that when he does his job, it’s “so we get to rest everybody else,” and that’s a pretty good way to describe it. This isn’t the dream job, but it’s a foot in the door. Playing in Texas doesn’t make his career a success, but it’s a nice stop along the way.
“I’ve only been out there three times,” Pendleton said. “But each time it dawns on me more and more that, hey, the ball’s over the plate and they still get fouled off and I still get outs with balls over the plate. They’re strikes. You’ve got to throw strikes.
“Just try to throw it over the plate and keep everything down. That’s kind of my theory.”