TAMPA, Fla. -- Underneath the right-field grandstand at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Danny Farquhar anchored his right foot on a pitching rubber and exhaled. He rocked and fired a fastball over the heart of home plate, throwing with full intensity -- the only way that he knows how.His inspirational recovery
TAMPA, Fla. -- Underneath the right-field grandstand at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Danny Farquhar anchored his right foot on a pitching rubber and exhaled. He rocked and fired a fastball over the heart of home plate, throwing with full intensity -- the only way that he knows how.
His inspirational recovery from a brain hemorrhage complete, Farquhar intends to continue beating the odds this year, aiming to return to a big league mound as a member of the Yankees' bullpen. After Friday afternoon's workout, he is 27 pitches closer to reaching that objective.
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"Honestly, it's my drive, my passion," Farquhar said. "Baseball is something I've been doing since I was 5 years old. I never want to stop playing until somebody won't put a uniform on me, and then I'll try coaching at that point."
On April 20 last season, Farquhar was pitching for the White Sox against the Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field when he collapsed in the home dugout. White Sox medical personnel and emergency responders treated the pitcher, who had a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.
Farquhar was discharged from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago on May 7 and returned to the ballpark three times, tossing a ceremonial first pitch on June 1.
During that time in the intensive care unit, Farquhar said he frequently wondered what time he was due to hit the field for stretch.
"I was not truly understanding the situation," said Farquhar, who turns 32 on Sunday. "[Baseball is] just something I have ingrained in me."
Farquhar, who owns a 3.93 ERA in 253 appearances across seven seasons, wants to prove that he can still get big league hitters out. His next goal is to pitch live batting practice, though that date has not yet been set.
"I think it's important to not get lost that this is a guy that can pitch," manager Aaron Boone said. "It's pretty neat that he gets to continue his career and fulfilling a dream of being a Major Leaguer. We're excited to have him. He's already brought something to us just by the energy he brings to the park every day."
To facilitate his return to the mound, Farquhar will sport a custom-made cap that protects his temple and skull area. The "Uncap," produced by Unequal Technologies, has a Kevlar composite insert and an outer polymer flap that is similar to what is used in batting helmets.
"At first when I put it on, it felt a little shallow on my head, sitting up a little bit," Farquhar said. "I told them, 'Hey, this is something that I think I'm just going to have to get used to.' Today it felt like a normal baseball hat. It didn't feel like anything crazy. I'd be curious to see if maybe one day MLB mandates it for all pitchers, just for the extra protection."
Though he never appeared in a Major League game for the Yankees, this marks Farquhar's second tour with the organization. He was selected off waivers from the Athletics in June 2012 and roomed with Dellin Betances in Double-A, but spent less than a month in the system before being packaged to the Mariners with pitcher D.J. Mitchell in exchange for outfielder Ichiro Suzuki.
"He'll certainly have some opportunities," Boone said. "I think the first thing for him is getting through a full Spring Training and getting back in that everyday grind of being a ballplayer and being a big league pitcher. We feel there's a chance that he could absolutely help us this year."
Betances is expected to report to camp on Monday, taking his physical with the position players. Betances and his wife, Janisa, welcomed a boy, Dellin Jr., on Wednesday.
Boone said he paid an offseason visit to the vacant Harlem storefront that right-hander Adam Ottavino outfitted with advanced gadgetry two winters ago, including cameras that he utilized to break down his mechanics. The changes saw Ottavino slice his ERA in half, from 5.06 in 2017 to 2.43 last year.
"I went over and saw his facility in Harlem and got to watch him throw a 'pen there," Boone said. "I think he's absolutely benefited from the feedback that he's able to get from the different camera things and all of the analytical stuff that he's dove into. Everyone is a little bit different. Some guys, you overload with information and it can get in their way. I think for Otto, it's really helped him."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.