Bronx, N.Y. — On a brisk Monday night under the bright lights at Yankee Stadium, Thairo Estrada hit his first major league home run that helped the Yankees to a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners in game one of a four game series.
The 23-year-old from Valencia, Venezuela faced fellow Venezuelan Félix Hernandez for the first time in his career and smacked a two-run home run to right-center field for his first career home run.
“When I hit the ball I knew I hit it well, I knew it had a chance.” Estrada said referring to his first major league home run, “When you finally see the ball go over, you get very excited about that, especially when facing someone like Félix.”
Estrada has faced many adversities on his road to the big leagues. His story differs from many others. Why? In January 2018, Estrada was shot in an attempted robbery in Venezuela.
After Troy Tulowitzki and Miguel Andújar were placed on the injured list, Estrada was called up and made his major league debut on April 21 against the Royals and later connected off the bat in Anaheim for his first major league hit.
“He’s been one of those guys,” manager Aaron Boone stated, “You can point to a lot of guys that have come up and has had a hand for us winning games. When I think of Thairo, I love the player, I think he’s going to be a good player in this league for a long time… He’s stepped up for us in a limited role and played a big part for us.”
Estrada was the Yankees No. 19 overall prospect according to MLB pipeline. His defense at shortstop in Monday’s game proved he is versatile in various positions on the field. In the top of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Estrada quickly charged an infield hit at shortstop and quickly snapped a throw to first base which saved a run from being scored and ended the inning.
“I’m sure I’m going to go back to my phone and find many messages,” Estrada said on his family and friends watching from Venezuela, “The first player to make it to the big leagues from my town, I’m sure they were watching and excited about the game.”
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