TRENTON- It has been a whirlwind stretch for Yankees first baseman Garrett Cooper, who is currently rehabbing with the Thunder as they close out their regular season slate against the Reading Fightin’ Phils. The imposing 26 year-old slugger had just gone 1-for3 with an RBI in the Pacific Coast League All-Star game just hours before the Yankees swung a deal with Milwaukee to acquire him on July 13 in exchange for Tyler Webb. The Yankees immediately put Cooper on the 25-man roster and he made his big league debut in the hallowed grounds of Fenway Park in Boston on July 14.
“That’s baseball,” admitted Cooper. “Coming from Colorado Springs, to the all-star game to coming to Fenway Park, just in that span of a week was crazy. Going back down to Scranton for a few days then going right back up and getting injured a few weeks later, it’s baseball.”
Cooper added, “It has been a whirlwind of everything; being down here in Trenton, it’s another one of those stepping stones to get to where you ultimately want to reach.”
The Auburn University product was placed on the 10-day disabled list on August 17 with left hamstring tendinitis. Prior to landing on the shelf, Cooper was proving himself worthy of a spot in the big league roster by slashing .326/.333/.488 with five doubles and six RBI in 43 at-bats spanning 13 games. At a time when the Yankees were in dire need of production from the first base position, Cooper stepped in and provided a definitive upgrade in production.
“You would love to never get injured,” said Cooper. “But, things happen and messing up the hammy wasn’t the greatest thing in the world for me as I was hitting pretty well up there.”
Cooper began his rehabilitation assignment with the Thunder on Monday in Bowie and played in all four games over that series. After going 0-for-4 with three walks over his first two games, the Brewers 2013 sixth-rounder has gone 2-for-4 with an RBI in each of his last two games that was highlighted by a long solo homer on Wednesday night.
“The first few games were definitely a little new to me after missing a few weeks,” Cooper said. “Getting back into the groove of seeing 95-plus every day is definitely something that you need to get back into the box and work on.”
“After those first few games I felt like I was back to normal; I hit that home run and I got a few base hits yesterday, so I feel pretty normal right now in the box. ”
Thunder Manager Bobby Mitchell said that the plan for Cooper right now is for him to remain with the team for their entire four game series against Reading before going back up with the Yankees next week.