NEW YORK -- It was Cody Eppley’s first night in his new hometown of New York. The Yankees were off following their big series in Texas, where he had been the pitching bright spot a night earlier against his former Rangers teammates.
So, what does a 25-year-old Yankees newcomer do for starters?
Go to the MLB Fan Cave, watch a live Daughtry concert with the nine Cave Dwellers, enjoy pizza and watch MLB action on TV with the gang, including Yankees fan Eddie Mata. It was at the suggestion of his agent, Brien Grieper of Octagon Sports.
"I saw from our schedule that we had an off-day in New York," Eppley said. "Being my first time here, I asked my agent, 'You got any ideas on what to do?' He recommended coming down here and checking out the Fan Cave. He got in touch with some of the guys who work here and they said Daughtry was here and I said, 'Why not, come down here and see what this is all about?'
"I'd heard about this before, and I wanted to come down and experience this and see what it's about. It's awesome. The way this is designed and everything else that's going on in here, it's incredible. If you were stuck in here to watch all these games, this is the place you'd want to be in."
Eppley pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief during the Yankees' loss in the rubber game of the series at Rangers Ballpark. Last May, he pitched against the Yankees at Arlington, and Francisco Cervelli hit a grand slam off him. The Yankees claimed Eppley on April 7, and there he was, back on the mound in Texas, facing Michael Young and getting him to roll over on a slider for an inning-ending double play.
"It was an experience. My adrenaline was through the roof," Eppley said. "To go back there and be on the mound but on the opposite side, it was something else. And then to face those guys I played with for a couple years, and then my first hitter to be Michael Young, Mr. Ranger -- my heart was going non-stop. To get him out was awesome.
"It was a good series. I feel like we're just as good as that Texas team. We didn't have the luck go our way on some of those games, but I'm excited to get back out there [Friday] and start playing again."
Eppley said Mata "has been giving me the ins and outs of New York." Mata, hoping to survive coming Fan Cave cuts, said he looks forward to having the newcomer around more.
"I love him. He's a youngster," Mata said. "Good looking guy, tall, lean, girls are gonna go crazy over him, look at him. He's saying, 'Guys are [living] over in Jersey.’ I'm like, 'You're living here.'"
-- Mark Newman