For Adam Warren, the plan is to show he can still pitch.
The 33-year-old relief pitcher is back for his third stint with the New York Yankees. He hasn’t pitched since 2019, a year when he didn’t feel like himself. That season, he posted a 5.34 ERA and 1.395 WHIP in 28 2/3 innings with the San Diego Padres.
Ever since then, he has been recovering from Tommy John surgery. He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees to rehab in 2020 before re-signing a minor league deal in the offseason.
“Wearing the pinstripes always felt like home to me,” Warren said in a virtual press conference on Monday. “Being a Yankee, it’s special for me, so it’s emotional coming back.”
If his words or the big, happy grin that spread across his face while speaking them do not illustrate his personal feelings about being a Yankee, than his performance does. In 407 innings pitched dating back to 2012 , he has a 3.18 ERA and 1.194 WHIP as a Yankee. In other stints with the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, and Padres, he posted a 5.16 ERA and 1.465 WHIP in 85 1/3 innings pitched.
Recovering From Injury
2020 was a year to refresh for Warren. Rehabbing during the pandemic allowed him to take a step back and spend time with his wife and kids. Now, he is ready to go for 2021.
Coming off the surgery, with no guaranteed roster spot, Adam Warren has a lot to prove. Ideally, in accomplishing that, he wants to return to his 2014-2015 form. Those two years were the best of his career when he posted a 125 ERA+ in 210 innings as a relief pitcher and spot starter.
He is six years removed from those peak years. His velocity is up early on in camp although that is expected as the adrenaline kicks in from facing live batters again.
His arm was a little sore on Monday, but that is also normal. Moving forward, he hopes to keep getting the repetitions necessary to build up his arm strength. Seeing how his arm bounces back will be a huge step forward, and Warren is encouraged by the early progress.
In attempting his comeback, Warren, a self-proclaimed old-school guy, has started utilizing advanced numbers among the plethora of resources he Yankees have readily available.
Although he knows he is a reliever, he still holds a starting pitcher’s mentality. The group of starting pitchers that the Yankees assembled are inspiring him on his road back. Having them available to pick their brain and see how they go about their business is beneficial to him.
“I think it’s going to be a special group because it seems a very motivated group,” Warren said.
While he wants to break camp on the major league roster, he knows it realistically will be tough because he has to prove that he can be his former self.
Even if he doesn’t makes the team, he feels strongly about the group of pitchers that will break camp with the team, especially the starting pitchers.
“We have three to four guys that could be one or twos on any other rotation,” Warren said. “It’s just exciting the different group of guys we have and different kinds of pitchers. You have some power pitchers, guys who move the ball all over the place, guys with good curveballs, good changeups, and good sliders. It’s neat to have the different varieties. We’re not rolling the same guy out there every night, it’s going to be something different.”
It won’t be easy. On paper, Adam Warren is one of the odd men out, but as he continues to re-establish his value, he can play a role out of the Yankees’ bullpen at some point during the 2021 season.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images
Players Mentioned: Adam Warren