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Rutherford and GC alum Nick Nelson in the Big Apple and ready for shot with Yankees

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 9:49 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -This is a very big month ahead for Rutherford and Gulf Coast alum Nick Nelson, as he prepares to hit the field at Yankee Stadium to take a shot at making the Yank’s opening day roster! Nelson is a part of the Yankees “60 man pool” making eligible to be with the team this July, as it prepares for the 60 game season ahead. And it means Nick is eligible to play with the Yankees, should they want him.

I spoke with Nick via Skype Tuesday, from his hotel room in Yonkers, northeast of New York. Nick was set to start in Triple-A this season, as part of the Yank' 40 man roster, so when things were halted, it was tough for him!

"You know I feel like this season was going to be a good opportunity to have like an actual full season you know." Nelson told me. "And especially the first year on the 40 man, I thought there was a lot of good opportunity to show everybody what I've got, and what not. Kind of disappointing that the season, at that point because everybody pretty much thought the season was going to be completely canceled. I was throwing the ball really good. I felt good. I had developed a bit of a slider. So that was coming along good. So yeah it was disappointing that at then and there we kind of had to end stuff."

Nick pitched on all three levels of minor league ball last year, A ball, AA ball and he ended the season in AAA Scranton. His season long ERA was 2.81. And starting back in Scranton this spring, well that would have left him just a phone call away from major league ball with Yankees.

"Oh yeah my nerves are through the roof you know." Nelson said. "So yeah it was pretty crazy. And I was expecting to do pretty good just because how I was throwing during spring training you know. My velocity was up, a couple of texts and yeah I was ready to go."

And now he's getting a shot at more spring games, and perhaps even making the opening day 30 man roster. Good thing, as he puts it, he managed to stay in good baseball shape during lockdown in Tampa.

“You know it was kind of challenging because I was kind of too scared to go to the gym.” says Nelson. “And a lot of gyms (in Tampa) weren’t open in the beginning. And then like I said having a 10-month-old at the house, I didn’t want to catch nothing and then bring it back to her. So it was challenging but a lot of body weight workouts. And then I had some people that I threw bullpens with and some live hitters and stuff so at least the baseball part I have it I was still staying in shape.”

Nick telling me that hotel room in Yonkers is his bubble for the next several weeks, there and Yankee Stadium. But he’s good with that given he’s getting a shot at making the big league team. That’s extra important given today baseball canceled all minor league seasons!

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