Third major league start for Povich leads him to Yankee Stadium

NEW YORK – If Cade Povich made a previous trip to New York, the memory isn’t sharp enough to cut through the fog.

“Maybe one time for like a night,” he said, “but other than that, no.”

Povich isn’t a tourist this week. His third major league start is coming tonight and he’s facing the team that’s blocking the Orioles from first place.

“It’s definitely going to be cool,” he said, certain that he hadn’t stepped inside Yankee Stadium before yesterday. “Knowing from watching games and growing up around baseball, it’s probably going to be a rowdy atmosphere, but at the same time probably pretty fun.

“We played in Regionals at Arkansas and it was pretty rowdy there, and I had a blast pitching there. Honestly, just real excited for it.”

Pitching for the Nebraska Cornhuskers didn’t expose Povich to Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and Giancarlo Stanton. Or crowds like last night’s sellout of 47,429.

“They’re obviously really good, but kind of the story of my whole year so far and what I’ve done going into games is, you can be the best hitter in the world but hitting’s hard,” he said. “Like they say, you can have a .300 average and you can be a Hall of Famer, so that just tells you how hard it is, no matter how good you are.

“It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun, and see what I’ve got.”

Povich might not see Judge, who left last night's game after being hit on the left hand. Judge told the media afterward that X-rays and a CT scan came back negative.

So was the reaction to Judge being hit, but Albert Suárez didn't have his usual command. Yankees pitchers hit more batters than the Orioles, but a few New York writers rushed to the visiting side to get comments/explanations. One young man in particular tried working the room as if Suárez had spray painted graffiti all over Monument Park. He didn't get far.

But I digress ...

Another twist is added to the Yankee experience with Gerrit Cole making his 2024 debut tonight. Last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner will be reinstated from the injured list. What timing.

Cole is approaching his 301st career start. He’s a six-time All-Star who finished runner-up twice in Cy Young voting prior to last year’s win, was fourth twice, and fifth and ninth once.

Povich, meanwhile, allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings in Toronto and tossed six shutout innings against the Braves in his first home start.

That’s the entire body of major league work for the organization’s No. 9 prospect.

“He just came off a Cy Young and he’s been good for so many years,” Povich said, explaining why Cole’s presence brings a little more adrenaline to the start. “But I think all around it’s exciting. Just pitching here, being my third start and then getting to go up against him making his season debut. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Probably more than his first trip to New York.

“I haven’t really gotten to experience it,” he said, “but it’s been cool, it’s been interesting.”

Cole Irvin served as a tour guide yesterday. Smart move by the kid to latch onto a veteran.

“He took me around,” Povich said. “We walked around Central Park a little bit.”

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