Zach McAllister makes Yankees debut 17 years after being drafted

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BOSTON — Seventeen years ago, the Yankees selected Zach McAllister in the third round of the MLB draft, adding him to their class that included Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Mark Melancon, among others.
On Tuesday, McAllister made his long-awaited Yankees debut after taking a long, winding road to get there.
The 35-year-old reliever, who made it as far as Triple-A with the Yankees before being traded out of the organization in 2010 for Austin Kearns, tossed a scoreless inning against the Red Sox in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Fenway Park.
“It’s kind of come full circle for me again,” McAllister said before the Yankees’ game Wednesday night against the Red Sox was postponed and scheduled as a split doubleheader on Thursday at Fenway Park. “Got to every level but the big leagues when I was here last time, so to be able to throw in the pinstripes and be out there against Boston, it’s something I’ll always remember.”
McAllister’s 17-year wait between being drafted by the Yankees and making his debut with the club is the largest gap in franchise history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Zach McAllister throws to first base to throw out Trevor Story in the sixth inning of the Yankees’ Game 2 win over the Red Sox in their doubleheader sweep on Tuesday. Getty Images
In between, he pitched in 277 games for Cleveland — even appearing in the 2016 World Series — and three for the Tigers through 2018.
Before Tuesday, McAllister’s last MLB appearance had come on Aug. 16, 2018.
Since then, he grinded his way through the minor leagues (across six different organizations) and injuries to get back on a major league mound.
In 2019, McAllister tore his lat.
A year later, he fractured his right humerus.
Both injuries came with grueling rehabs.
Zach McAllister was drafted by the Yankees 17 years ago. AP
“It was definitely a process and definitely took a lot longer than expected,” McAllister said Wednesday. “But [Tuesday] made it all worth it, that’s for sure.”
McAllister had his wife in the stands on Tuesday for his first MLB appearance in 1,854 days, and in the opposing dugout was his brother-in-law, Red Sox first-base coach Kyle Hudson.
They were some of the many in McAllister’s corner to keep him going on his long road back to the big leagues.
“I had family, friends and my wife was also pushing me to keep going,” McAllister said. “I was able to change my arm slot a little bit and that made a huge difference for me. Last year was one of those where it’s like, ‘Hey, I can either still get outs and compete or I’m happy with my career.’ For me, I was able to still go out and get outs and compete.
“So I just rode with it as long as I could.”
Both McAllister and Matt Bowman, who made his first big-league outing since 2019 on Tuesday, had the admiration of the Yankees clubhouse.
“Not everyone has the will and fortitude to stick it out,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Credit to them for not letting their journey end.”
Jonathan Loaisiga has “some stuff going on” in his right elbow, Boone said Wednesday, a day after the reliever landed on the IL to cut his season short.
While Boone did not have specifics, he said if the injury had happened earlier in the season, Loaisiga would have been shut down from throwing for “a few weeks.”

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