I called them the side-winders. Southpaw Clay Rapada and today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant, Cody Eppley were two of the surprising reasons why the Yankee bullpen never missed a beat in 2012, despite losing the world’s all-time greatest closer, when Mo Rivera tore his ACL just one month into the season. Both guys threw the ball with sidearm motions and both of them did so effectively enough to become work horses for Manager Joe Girardi ‘s AL East Division-winning team.
Eppley was originally drafted by the Rangers in the 43rd round of the 2008 MLB amateur draft. He made his big league debut with Texas in 2011 but was then put on waivers at the opening of the 2012 season. The Yankees claimed him at that time and he was remarkably consistent in most of the 61 games he appeared in while wearing pinstripes. During that 2012 season, he posted an ERA of 3.33 and ended the year with a streak of nine scoreless relief appearances. The biggest difference between the Eppley that pitched for the Rangers in 2011 and the one who performed in pinstripes in 2012 was improved control. The Dillsburg, PA native lowered his base-on-balls per nine inning rate from five with Texas to a bit higher than three as a Yankee.
Eppley performed poorly during New York’s 2013 spring training season and his struggles continued at the beginning of the regular season. After he was rocked by the Red Sox for four runs in his second appearance in 2013, the Yanks sent him down to Triple A. (Note: Clay Rapada was released by New York on the same day.) His struggles continued with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and by June of that year, the organization gave up on the right-hander and released him.
Since they were both middle inning relievers, Eppley and Rapada often were called upon to warm up together in the tight spaces found in most AL Stadium bullpens. Since they both threw sidearm, Rapada had to use the left-side bullpen mound and Eppley the right one to avoid smashing their pitching hands together on a simultaneous sidearm warm up delivery. Eppley shares his October 8th birthday with this former Yankee outfielder, this former Yankee starting pitcher and this one-time Yankee hitting coach.
|NYY (2 yrs)||1||2||.333||3.97||61||0||15||0||0||0||47.2||50||23||21||3||17||33||1.406|
|TEX (1 yr)||1||1||.500||8.00||10||0||1||0||0||0||9.0||11||8||8||3||5||6||1.778|