LAKELAND, Fla. — In a nice spring training surprise, Anthony Volpe found himself on the Yankees’ bus headed to TigerTown on Sunday.
And he nearly wound up hitting a home run in his only at-bat.
“It hooked at the end, but I thought it was fair off the bat,’’ Volpe said. “And then he got me on the next pitch.’’
After launching a long foul ball to left, Volpe grounded out against Tigers right-handed minor leaguer Franklin Perez in a 10-4 Detroit win at Joker Marchant Stadium.
A right-handed hitting shortstop out of the Delbarton School in Morristown, Volpe was the Yankees’ No. 1 draft pick last summer.
On Friday, the 18-year-old Volpe learned he was being pulled out of minor league camp to fill out the Yankees’ travel squad for a Grapefruit League game.
“I was with my mom when I got a text with my name on the infield roster,’’ said Volpe. “I didn’t really believe it and then I got a call saying if I wanted to help out the big-league club.
“For her to be there, that was cool.’’
By Sunday morning, Volpe moved across the street from minor league camp to the big-league clubhouse at Steinbrenner Field, and then made the 45-minute ride to Lakeland.
During batting practice, “I almost had to pinch myself,’’ Volpe said of being around new teammates Brett Gardner, Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez.
“I think his heart was beating pretty fast in batting practice,’’ said manager Aaron Boone. “He goes up there and puts up a pretty good at-bat.’’
Wearing No. 90, Volpe said he “just wanted to swing’’ the bat in his one AB, pinch-hitting for Sanchez in the designated hitter spot.
“It was an awesome experience just to be around those guys,’’ said Volpe, who mentioned the handful of other minor leaguers who also got Sunday’s call.
“We’ve been down here for about a month and we’ve been putting in a lot of work,’’ Volpe said. “To have these kind of days, it’s really fun.’’
The Yankees signed Volpe out of his commitment to Vanderbilt, where his good friend and Delbarton teammate Jack Leiter – son of former Mets and Yankees pitcher Al Leiter – is off to an impressive start.
For Volpe, the goal is to “just have a healthy year’’ in his first season as a professional. “Just control what I can control, no matter where that is…and see what happens.’’