SPORTS

Dalton Pompey gets 1st major league hit in 1st start

09/19/2014 11:29 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:02 EDT
There are many less-pressured environments to make your first major league start than under the bright lights at Yankee Stadium in New York.

But do you think it bothered Canadian outfielder Dalton Pompey, who was given the start in left field by Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons on Friday night?

If it did, the 21-year-old didn’t show it, despite the fact he had played in left just 14 times in 319 minor-league games.

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Pompey came to the plate with one out in the top of the second inning and Munenori Kawasaki at first base and the Jays leading 2-1. He worked the count to 3-1 against veteran Yankees starter HirokiKuroda before lining a single to right-centre field for his first hit in the big leagues.

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In his first seven games with the Blue Jays, Pompey had been used strictly in a pinch-hitting, pinch-running and defensive replacement role, going 0-for-3 at the plate.

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Any nerves the native of Mississauga, Ont., may have felt early in Friday’s game were probably calmed when he received some congratulatory words on the field from retiring New York shortstop Derek Jeter, who tapped Pompey on the back as he exited the field after Toronto’s Jose Reyes grounded out to end the top of the second inning.

Jeter, who entered Friday’s game with 3,454 hits in the major leagues, knew Pompey had recorded his first major league hit in the inning. When the ball was returned to the infield, Jeter immediately threw it towards the Blue Jays dugout for safekeeping.

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The switch-hitting Pompey became the 183rd Canadian to record a hit in a major league game. He had three other at-bats in the game and here’s how he fared:

- 4th inning: Struck out swinging

- 7th inning: Lined a one-hopper to first base that Mark Teixeira scooped up to save an extra-base hit.

- 9th inning: Teixeira, again, robs Pompey by snaring a line drive hit in the same spot as the Jays outfielder’s previous at-bat.

Toronto’s 16th-round selection in the 2010 draft, Pompey advanced through three levels in the minor league this season, hitting .358 with five runs batted in and six stolen bases in 12 games at triple-A Buffalo.

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Gibbons has been impressed with the youngster’s work habits and poise and prior to the game felt that Pompey might be able to give a jolt to the Jays’ struggling offence.

“He works hard, he’s preparing and he’s very mature,” said the manager of Pompey to a group of reporters. “Very professional kid.”

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