Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

1st day in pinstripes thrills Seahawks QB Wilson

MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Russell Wilson has reached the greatest heights of his chosen profession, leading the NFL's Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl championship. Now, the veteran quarterback is receiving an inside glimpse of how the winningest franchise in baseball history conducts its business.

Wilson donned the Yankees pinstripes on Monday, beginning his visit to camp as a non-roster invitee. Participating in a batting practice group that included Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton, Wilson slugged six homers at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Russell Wilson has reached the greatest heights of his chosen profession, leading the NFL's Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl championship. Now, the veteran quarterback is receiving an inside glimpse of how the winningest franchise in baseball history conducts its business.

Wilson donned the Yankees pinstripes on Monday, beginning his visit to camp as a non-roster invitee. Participating in a batting practice group that included Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton, Wilson slugged six homers at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

"This is the team that I've always loved, and this is the team that I've always been passionate about," Wilson said. "This is the team that, when I played baseball, this is who I thought about. To wear this jersey, to wear the Yankees cap -- to put this on is a dream come true."

Yankees' spring info | Tickets | Schedule

A onetime second baseman in the Rockies' system who attended spring camp in 2014 and 2015 with the Rangers, Wilson turned double plays with shortstop Didi Gregorius before digging into the batter's box and attempting to keep pace with the Yankees' most powerful hitters.

Tweet from @BryanHoch: .@DangeRussWilson goes yard.���Yeah, he���s been taking BP,��� hitting coach Marcus Thames said. @yankees @seahawks pic.twitter.com/Eyqu7166cg

"He told me that was his first time hitting BP, but I didn't believe him," Judge said. "I think he's been out here taking swings, because he took a couple out to left and one out to center. I think he's been practicing. He's having fun, joking with the guys. It's cool having him around."

Issued uniform No. 73, a combination of his old high school baseball number (7) and his current NFL number (3), Wilson addressed the team briefly before Monday's game. Manager Aaron Boone said that Wilson spoke about the principles of leadership and his desire to be part of the Yankees.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"He seems obsessed and driven to go get another Super Bowl title," Boone said. "That's been what drives him, what motivates him. He's trying to pass that on to our guys, knowing that there's no better organization to come to where a championship is the standard."

When Boone informed Wilson that he would be joining Bird, Judge, Sanchez and Stanton, Wilson responded, "They'd better be ready."

Said Judge: "That was the coolest part for me, was just kind of talking to him and asking him, 'Hey man, how do you prepare every week?' You're getting beat up on Sunday. For you to recover, get your reps, get your body feeling well enough to do the same thing another Sunday, what's that like?'

"He never wastes a minute. That's what he talked about. Every minute, everything he does is for a purpose. When he's working out, it's with a purpose. He's not just trying to get through reps, it's for a purpose. So hearing that from him, that was some pretty cool feedback."

Video: Russell Wilson homers in Yanks' batting practice

Wilson hit .229 with five homers, 26 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 93 Minor League games for Rookie-level Tri-City and Class A Asheville in the Rockies' system from 2010-11 before opting for a career in the NFL. Wilson is expected to be in Yankees camp for five or six days.

"Some people get confused [and think], is this just a stunt or whatever?" Wilson said. "They don't know me. If you really know me, baseball's been a part of my blood. It's about who I am and where I come from and what I've done. When you see me make plays on the football field, a lot of that is a direct correlation to baseball."

Wilson said that he could see Judge and Stanton making the transition to the NFL if they wanted to, envisioning the pair as tight ends. Judge said that he'd like to run a pass route before Wilson departs.

Watch Wilson take grounders, hit homers

Unlike actor and comedian Billy Crystal, who notched a Grapefruit League at-bat to celebrate his 60th birthday in 2008, Wilson will wear a uniform but won't appear in a game while he is in camp. That is out of courtesy to the Seahawks, who are counting on Wilson to be ready for training camp in July.

However, Wilson's glovework on a back diamond and his batting practice show on the main field suggested that the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback should have no trouble keeping up with his fellow athletes this week.

"The thing I'm excited about the most is really learning about the Yankees and how they've won 27 world championships," Wilson said. "What that takes, the mentality. There's an aroma around here that I've got to figure out and use that for my football career as well."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Russell Wilson