NEW YORK -- The conversation took place on the bench of the visitors' dugout early on Friday evening, while Jonathan Loaisiga racked up four strikeouts through the first two innings of his big league debut.Rays manager Kevin Cash leaned over to bench coach Charlie Montoyo, and the baseball lifers agreed
NEW YORK -- The conversation took place on the bench of the visitors' dugout early on Friday evening, while Jonathan Loaisiga racked up four strikeouts through the first two innings of his big league debut.
Rays manager Kevin Cash leaned over to bench coach Charlie Montoyo, and the baseball lifers agreed they had seen something like this before. As Cash would recount after the Yankees' 5-0 victory, they observed that "he looked like a young Mariano Rivera."
"That's a big compliment right there," Loaisiga said on Saturday morning, speaking through an interpreter. "Mariano is one of the best all time, a superstar of the sport. It's humbling for him to say something like that."
Asked if he saw anything that reminded him of baseball's all-time saves leader, Yankees manager Aaron Boone quipped, "I'm not going to get into those comparisons. I thought he did really well. I thought he handled himself really well."
Rated as the Yankees' No. 12 prospect by MLB Pipeline, the 23-year-old right-hander hurled five innings of scoreless three-hit ball, walking four and striking out six as he became the first Yankees hurler to win his debut since Sam Militello in 1992.
"Really, the only blip was the four walks, which is uncharacteristic for him," Boone said. "It wasn't a case of him being wild or anything; I think it was a case of him maybe going for some chase pitches that in the Minor Leagues probably tend to get chased, whereas up here they're probably a little more disciplined.
"All in all, anytime he did walk a guy or in that fourth inning where he got into trouble, he made a really good pitch when he needed to. Even though I thought he tired a lot in the fifth, he was still able to have a clean inning there. I'm just really proud of his effort. I know he's really excited about it, seeing the smile on his face this morning."
After the game, Loaisiga said he returned to a Manhattan hotel and fielded many phone calls from friends and family members who watched the game online from his hometown in Nicaragua.
"It took me some time to fall asleep, processing everything that happened: getting to the big leagues, getting my first start," Loaisiga said. "They were very happy for me and so proud of me. They told me they really enjoyed watching me and telling me that I did a really good job."
The Yankees announced on Saturday they acquired infielder Wendell Rijo from the Brewers as the player to be named in the May 25 trade that sent catcher Erik Kratz to Milwaukee.
Rijo, 22, was batting .200/.304/.375 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 32 games at Double-A Biloxi. He will be assigned to Class A Advanced Tampa.
This date in Yankees history
June 16, 1977: Ron Guidry permitted three hits and two walks as he fired the first of his 26 career shutouts, blanking the Royals, 7-0, at Yankee Stadium. Mickey Rivers homered among three hits in a game that lasted just two hours and two minutes.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.