07/22/11 11:59 PM ET
Laird's debut is night he'll 'always remember'
By Matt Fortuna / MLB.com
When Laird's phone did not stop vibrating after walking into the Yankees' clubhouse following Friday's game, he knew his brother already had the answer.
Laird's first Major League appearance was a success, as the 23-year-old hit an RBI single in the eighth inning of the Yankees' 17-7 win over the Athletics. His first plate appearance came an inning earlier, when he pinch-hit for Derek Jeter to lead off the seventh and heard a nice ovation from the fans that remained for the entirety of the rout.
"Can't even put it in words," Laird said. "I'm still speechless, and it's a dream come true. And to hit for a guy like that, it's a day I'll always remember."
Laird was greeted with a Joey Devine fastball that sailed behind his back before drawing a walk. He played third base the rest of the way, and was told afterward by manager Joe Girardi that he would start Saturday, though he is not sure where.
Older brother Gerald had a key play on the other side of town two nights earlier, when he successfully executed a suicide squeeze to give his Cardinals an eighth-inning lead in an eventual loss to the Mets.
Gerald is in his ninth big-league season, and though he had other obligations Friday night, Brandon's father, mother, grandparents, aunt, godfather, girlfriend and best friend all were on the first-base side of Yankee Stadium to witness Brandon's debut.
When the Yankees placed Ramiro Pena on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of appendicitis, Brandon was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and his family was in St. Petersburg in case his debut came against the Rays.
Instead, it came in the Bronx, with the big shoes of the Yankees' captain to fill.
"That was so great," Nick Swisher said of Laird's debut. "When I saw him putting his helmet on I was like, 'Man, what do you think you're doing?' And he said, 'I'm about to get an at-bat,' and I was thinking to myself, 'Who for?'
"I mean, pinch-hitting for Derek Jeter and getting your first Major League hit? That's not too shabby."
Matt Fortuna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.