From Hank’s Yanks to the real Yanks • 12.21.10
Here’s a long shot that’s worth cheering for.
The Yankees have signed a 19-year-old kid named Leonel Vinas to a minor league deal. The signing comes after Vinas stood out as the ace of Hank’s Yanks, a summer league team sponsored by Hank Steinbrenner. My friend Bryan Hoch has the story.
“They told me, ‘You’ve got a chance to be a Yankee,’” Vinas said. “When they first told me that, I didn’t believe it. I didn’t think it was true. As the season went on, it got bigger and bigger, and here we are now. My dreams are coming true.”
Vinas moved from the Dominican Republic to Long Island when he was 11. By his own account, he was doing nothing but “being in the streets” before getting serious about pitching for Hank’s Yankees. Through 84 innings he had a 12-0 record, a 1.12 ERA and 168 strikeouts. Those numbers don’t mean much in the big picture, but they certainly prove he was considerably better than his competition and ready for another sort of challenge. It’s a long shot at best, but these are the kind of chances that are well worth taking.
“This is real. He’s got talent,” Cashman told Hoch. “We’re looking forward to seeing where the talent takes him. I try to tell all the players that we sign, we’re going to make sure that we provide everything at our disposal to see if the dreams can come true.”