Tyler Webb always will remember his major league debut with the New York Yankees for a couple of reasons, both of which are fairly humorous.
Webb, a Nassawadox, Virginia, native who pitched for South Carolina from 2010-2013, never had attended, much less participated in, a major league baseball game. He was called up by the Yankees on June 22 and made his debut on June 24.
And when he came in to pitch, he got a little rattled on the mound. All his years of hard work were finally paying off, but he wasn’t prepared for what he was about to experience.
“I came into the game at Yankee Stadium, and I didn’t know the count,” Webb said recently as he helped with a camp sponsored by former USC teammate Grayson Greiner. “I didn’t know where the balls and strikes were, so I had to look around to find the count in Yankee Stadium. I got a little star-struck. I abandoned that completely and decided I wasn’t going to look at anything but the catcher until it was over. It was a cool experience.”
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Webb started his minor league career in 2013 after pitching at USC. He was the Gamecocks closer in 2013 and recorded 17 saves and was named a third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. He finished his USC career as the record holder for games pitched with 110.
He bounced around the minors and went to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft before the 2017 season. After competing for a role with the Pirates in spring training, he was returned to the Yankees before the start of the regular season.
After starting in the minors, the tall left-hander got the call to The Show.
“It was a dream come true,” Webb said. “It’s hard to put into words what it feels like. It was even more special that it took me a little longer and I had to grind more than I would like. Obviously, I got there and had my parents there, so it was a special weekend.”
Webb ended up making seven relief appearances for the Yankees. He ended with a 4.50 ERA with five strikeouts and four walks in six innings pitched.
On July 13, Webb was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in two games with the Brewers, where he had a 9.00 ERA and was sent back to the minors.
Webb is getting ready to head to Florida for spring training. He’s worked out in Columbia this offseason and hopes a few changes he made to his mechanics will allow him to prove to the Brewers he has the makeup to stick the entire season in the majors.
“I want to stay healthy and be consistent,” Webb said. “I didn’t have the greatest end to the season, but I think I fixed a couple of things mechanically, so I hope this year turns out better.”