For most of us, David Phelps arrived quietly. He showed up with little fanfare out of the faceless world of minor league baseball. He had been a name on a prospect list — one of the interchangeable guys not named Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances — and now he’s starting Game 161 with a chance to clinch the American League East.
But not everyone was so unfamiliar with him.
“I’m absolutely excited for him, and I know he’s excited,” Adam Warren said. “Dave’s one of those guys that’s strictly business and always working hard, so I think he’s really earned this.”
Warren was another of those interchangeable, faceless prospects. He and Phelps came out of major college programs, they’re less than a year apart in age, and they spent parts of the past two seasons together in the minor leagues.
“He may have got a little bit more movement on his pitches, but he’s always been just a competitor out there,” Warren said. “I think that’s one of the main things that I’ve admired about him is, he goes out there and he’s mad if he throws one bad pitch, and he’s yelling at himself. That’s what I love about watching him pitch is he expects perfection, and that kind of competitive attitude is, I think, what drives him.”
Warren has a spot in the Yankees clubhouse too, but he’s over in the corner with the other September call-ups who are here to observe more than play. And you can bet Warren’s been watching his friend closely.
“I feel like he’s kind of opened the door for us,” Warren said. “He had a great year this year, so why can’t I do that next year? To see him get a lot of trust and get this start, it really motivates me and has motivated me all year to work hard, because I know at some point I’m going to get some chances and I want to be able to take advantage of them like he has.”
Associated Press photo