NEW YORK -- Squeezing power production out of first base has been a challenge for the Yankees all year long, but Chris Parmelee's breakout night in pinstripes just might have presented a solution.Parmelee homered twice in his first Yankees start, slugging a game-tying solo shot in the sixth inning off
NEW YORK -- Squeezing power production out of first base has been a challenge for the Yankees all year long, but Chris Parmelee's breakout night in pinstripes just might have presented a solution.
Parmelee homered twice in his first Yankees start, slugging a game-tying solo shot in the sixth inning off Jered Weaver before adding a two-run homer in the seventh off Greg Mahle, leading the Bombers to a 12-6 victory over the Angels on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
"I had a good night at the plate," said Parmelee, who also legged out a fourth-inning double to mark his first hit of the season. "There's not much more you can ask for. It's pretty surreal."
Mark Teixeira hit just three home runs in 167 at-bats before going on the disabled list with a cartilage tear in his right knee, and with two big swings, Parmelee has nearly matched that total. Yankees manager Joe Girardi trusted the numbers in starting the 28-year-old Parmelee, who had five hits in 12 previous at-bats against Weaver.
"I'm sure he's really excited," Girardi said. "We've seen him before. We've seen him hit home runs against us. I think Andy Pettitte was talking about how he hit one in the basket in Minnesota against him. He's been a good player. We were pleased. We thought he had a really good Spring Training and knew that at some point he could probably help us."
Parmelee signed with the Yankees in February as a Minor League free agent, noting the lack of first-base depth in the system following Greg Bird's season-ending injury. Playing the season's first two months in Triple-A, Parmelee said that he suspected Teixeira's situation might provide him an opportunity with the big club.
"This is the ultimate goal, to be up here and do whatever you can to help the team win," Parmelee said. "When I was down in Scranton, you have to keep a positive attitude and get your work in every day because you never know when that phone call might come."
Oddly enough, it was a big night for another former Twin, as right-hander Anthony Swarzak picked up the victory with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in his Yankees debut behind Nathan Eovaldi's inefficient start. Swarzak said that Parmelee's performance was not out of character.
"I'm very happy for him, but I'm not surprised. I'm really not," Swarzak said. "In Triple-A, he was putting together great at-bats, especially as of late. He was driving the ball deep. Unbelievable at first base and really carrying the team when they needed to be. Now it's rolling over here."
And it seems to have earned him more chances. Girardi said that he could see a scenario where Parmelee -- a former first-round pick of the Twins who logged 97 at-bats for the Orioles in 2015 -- sees regular duty as the team's first baseman against right-handed pitching, with Rob Refsnyder facing lefties.
Working in Parmelee's favor is, unlike Refsnyder or catcher Austin Romine, he is a polished defender at first base. Parmelee made a Teixeira-like scoop to save shortstop Didi Gregorius from a throwing error in the third inning on a Johnny Giavotella grounder.
"I'm sure if Tex gets healthy and comes back, he's going to play," Parmelee said. "Until then, I'm just trying to do what I can to help this team win and to stick, whether it's this year or long-term."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.