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10 Things you didn’t know about your 2017 Yankees

With the new season officially underway, it is important for Yankee fans to get to know their squad. Of course, we all know the basics. We’re all aware that Aaron Judge is a six-foot-7 monster who feeds on fastballs. We know that CC Sabathia won the Cy Young in 2007, and that Matt Holliday won a World Series in 2011. I’m talking about the down and dirty, undercover stories that they don’t want you to know…Just kidding, but here are some interesting facts about the current Bombers team you may not have known.

Tyler Clippard was cut from his high school team twice

The right-handed reliever attended Palm Harbor High School in Florida, but failed to make the varsity team his freshman and sophomore year. Clippard then transferred to Mitchell High School, where he earned All-Conference honors his junior year.

Aaron Judge was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics

The Judge was selected in the 31st round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft by the Oakland Athletics. Instead, he decided to attend Fresno State, where he was named All-American as a freshman. In 2013, the Yankees drafted Judge in the first round, and the rest is history.

Tyler Austin is a cancer survivor

At just 17 years old, Austin was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Luckily, the tumor was found early and was surgically removed. He did not require chemotherapy. The strong-willed Yankee prospect played in a high school showcase only one week after the surgery.

Rob Refsnyder was adopted when he was five months old

The 26-year-old utility player was born in Korea, but moved to California when he was adopted by Clint and Jane Refsnyder at five months old. Rob credits his father Clint for breeding his extremely competitive nature.

Oh, and here’s another fact about Aaron Judge. He, too, was adopted.

Jacoby Ellsbury has his own wine, called “ZinfandEllsbury”

In 2010, Ellsbury partnered with Charity Wines, a company that, you guessed it, sells wine in efforts to raise money for different charities. The Yankee’s center fielder cleverly named his wine, ZinfandEllsbury, and donated 100% of the proceeds to three different charitable organizations.

Matt Holliday was a highly touted quarterback prospect in high school

Holliday attended Stillwater High School in Minnesota, where he played baseball, football, and basketball. Although he enjoyed extensive success in all sports, he was especially dominant in football. Holliday even broke some of the school records that former NFL quarterback Troy Aikman set years before. The Yankees’ DH was committed to play football and baseball at Oklahoma State, but he signed with the Colorado Rockies after being drafted in 1998.

Brett Gardner was initially cut from his college team, but showed up to practice anyway

Gardy attempted to “walk-on” the baseball team at the College of Charleston. He obviously wasn’t recruited, and struggled during tryouts. Gardner did not make the team, but the persistent outfielder showed up to practice the next day. He told coaches that he knew he could play and that he belonged there. The coaches decided to let him practice with the team and perhaps play in some exhibition games. Gardner went on to have a stellar college baseball career, and was ultimately drafted by the Yankees in 2005.

Professional baseball runs in Austin Romine‘s family

 Austin’s father, Kevin Romine, served as a utility outfielder for the Boston Red Sox from 1985 to 1991. He hit a career .251 and clubbed five total home runs. The Yankee backstop also has a brother, Andrew, who plays for the Detroit Tigers

Didi Gregorious‘ first name is actually “Mariekson”

The Yankee shortstop has gone by “Didi” his whole career, but his real name is Mariekson. Growing up in the Netherlands and Curacao, his family and friends nicknamed him Didi. When he came over to the United States to play baseball, many of his teammates could not pronounce his full name. He started introducing himself as Didi Gregorious to make it easier for the guys on his team.

Aroldis Chapman didn’t play baseball until he was 15 years old

Chapman’s father was a boxer, and he trained Aroldis in that sport from an early age. It wasn’t until he was 15 years old when he joined a friend’s baseball team. He began the season playing first base, but turned a lot of heads with how hard he threw the ball. The coach ultimately converted the Cuban Missle into a pitcher, a decision that Yankee fans are forever thankful for.


Follow Joe Commesso on Twitter: @joecommesso