NEW YORK — Randy Vásquez allowed himself a few extra beats to savor the scene as he long-tossed across the Yankee Stadium outfield early on Friday evening, sensing the energy of a sellout crowd filtering in. It was the first Major League game he’d ever attended, and it would begin when he stepped on the mound.
Promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to fill in while Domingo Germán completes his suspension, the 24-year-old Vásquez performed capably in his debut against a stacked Padres lineup, receiving little support as the Yankees’ bats were held down in a 5-1 loss.
“Going out there and warming up, getting ready for the start, I took a moment and looked around,” Vásquez said through an interpreter. “You can see how majestic Yankee Stadium is. There were so many thoughts coming into my mind at that moment. I thanked God for this opportunity and my family, who helped me so much to get here.”
Juan Soto admired a long fifth-inning two-run homer hit into the right-field second deck off Vásquez, who is rated as the No. 12 prospect in the Yankees’ organization by MLB Pipeline.
“It felt great facing those guys,” Vásquez said. “You understand the players they are, and at the same time, you’re competing against those guys in that moment.”
With his grandfather, uncles and cousins among a festive gathering of 46,724 that arrived upon summer’s doorstep to embrace the beginning of a holiday weekend, Vásquez scattered four hits over 4 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out six in an 84-pitch effort.
“I told him after the game, ‘It’s on us as an offense, not getting you a couple of runs when you’re going up against a lineup like that,’” said Yankees captain Aaron Judge. “You hold them scoreless for a while, then Soto does his thing and gets them two. I was excited to see it; we’ve got a lot of young prospects coming up that we’re going to see over the next couple of years.”
Vásquez , who was optioned to Triple-A after the game, is the 12th Yankee in the last 16 seasons (since 2008) to debut as a starting pitcher. Before Jhony Brito on April 2 of this season, the most recent examples were Luis Gil (2021) and Deivi García (2020).
“We’ve been following this kid since last year, when he was in Double-A,” said Carlos Mendoza, the Yankees’ bench coach, who served as acting manager on Friday. “We saw a little bit of him in Spring Training. It’s not easy to come in here for the first time ever, attending a big league game and you’re facing a pretty good lineup. Overall, I thought he handled it really well.”
“I found out about an hour before the game. As soon as we got done with batting practice, Boonie called me in the office and told me about it,” Mendoza said. “Honestly, I was a little surprised. I didn’t know all the details of it. I was just told that I was managing.”
The Yanks were limited to six hits over 6 1/3 innings by Padres starter Joe Musgrove, with the only run that the right-hander permitted coming on a sixth-inning Anthony Rizzo groundout. The Bombers have been held to one run in each of the last two nights, after scoring at least six runs in four of their previous five games.
“It’s just about us capitalizing when we get pitches over the plate, not trying to expand too much,” said Judge, who extended his on-base streak to 13 games with a sixth-inning double. “Staying in our zone, staying in our lanes. When we do that, we’re a good offense. When we expand a little bit and miss our mistakes, it’s tough to beat [teams], especially with the pitching staff they’ve got over there.”
Fernando Tatis Jr. launched a two-run homer into the second deck in left field facing Ron Marinaccio in the sixth inning, prompting loud jeers (and some out-of-town cheers).
With gyrations and flexes once he returned to his position, Tatis Jr. also embraced the running commentary from fans in the right-field seats, many of whom referenced the 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use he received last August.
“I think he was locked in; he was ready to go,” Judge said. “He was able to sit on a pitch there and drive it when they needed him to. That’s the difference right there.”