By RENALDO DORSETT
For the second time in his pro career, Antoan Richardson received the promotion every minor league player dreams of - a call up to Major League Baseball.
Richardson will be added to the New York Yankees’ 40-man roster when the team announces its September call-ups. He spent 93 games with Triple-A club, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in Moosic, Pennsylvania.
An affiliate of the Yankees, the team plays in the Northwestern Division of the International League. He hit .271 with 70 hits, including three home runs and 22 RBI. He also produced an on-base percentage of .380 with 26 stolen bases and 41 runs scored.
Richardson will arrive in the Bronx today to officially meet with Yankee personnel. “It still feels surreal, but it is definitely gratifying getting another opportunity at the majors,” he said. “I am humbled, not only by this, but the opportunity to compete everyday on the journey to the major leagues. I’m sure a lot of people back home will be excited to hear the news and I’ll do my best to go out there and make my family and country proud.”
On September 1, the major league team’s roster expands from the 25-man active roster to the entire 40-man roster.
At this point, any player on the 40-man roster can play for the club.
September call-ups are players from the minors who are playing in September to get Major League experience and, especially for teams in contention, to provide reinforcements down the stretch.
“I never go into these situations with expectations, because I know the nature of the business and how uncertain it can be but at the same time it wasn’t a surprise to me, I just tried to stay even keel and focus on finishing out the minor league season strong. It was an OK season for me, I started off cold but I just kept fighting and I was able to renew my focus to get back on track,” Richardson said.
“I’m not sure what my role is going to be with the team, but when I get there I will talk to Joe [Girardi] and the rest of the coaching staff to get a better handle on how I can contribute. Anything I can add to help these guys make a playoff push.”
The 30-year-old outfielder, who played in nine games for the Atlanta Braves in 2011, said he hopes his career serves as an inspiration to younger Bahamian baseball players on their quest to the major leagues.
“When I was called up the first time by Atlanta, that was the first time in 28 years a Bahamian played in the majors and now it was a three-year gap for me to get their again, hopefully with this new group of guys the wait will be even shorter for the next call-up,” Richardson said.
“I hope that I can be an example to the younger guys, just to show them that perseverance can get you to where you want to be in this game. In my opinion all the guys behind me are a lot better than I am so an opportunity is right on the cusp for them. We have a lot of guys playing baseball at high levels, not just in the minors, but also in colleges and high schools so if I can inspire them to keep pushing ahead toward their goals then I will be pleased with that.”
In his 10-year minor league career, Richardson has established a reputation as a player with a high on-base percentage and an adept base stealer.
Originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 27th round of the 2001 amateur draft, Richardson stayed at American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Florida, until he was drafted for the third time, this time by the San Francisco Giants in the 35th round in 2005.
He went on to play in the pipelines with both the Giants and the Atlanta Braves until the Braves called him up to the MLB, where he made his debut on September 4, 2011.
In a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Richardson pinch-hit for starting pitcher Randall Delgado, and singled to centre field on the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning.
The Yankees are currently 70-65, second place in the American League East. They open a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox 7:05pm tonight at Yankee Stadium.