Can Eric Schmitt be the next Mark Newman?
Eric Schmitt was going to keep pitching until the people that ran the Yankees minor-league system told him the jig was up and the end of his dream was near.
Four years removed from playing his final game, the former Thunder reliever now finds himself embedded within the same inner circle that help direct his career with the Yankees organization in his role as the club’s assistant director of baseball operations in Tampa, Fla.
“Obviously my goal was to get to the big leagues,’’ said Schmitt, taken by the Yankees in the 25th round (758th overall) of the 2000 draft. “I played at every level except the big leagues. Once my career was over I asked (senior vice president of baseball operations) Mark Newman to keep me in mind if anything came up where I could be an asset to the organization.’’
After being released by the Yankees in 2005, Schmitt played one forgettable season with the Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A affiliate in Richmond before realizing his right arm was no longer able to recover the way it once did.
The aches and pains came with more frequency, while the grind of everyday life in the minors began taking a toll.
“Obviously, it was tough to stop playing; it’s what I had done since I was a kid in Little League,’’ Schmitt said. “But before I left the Yankees in 2005, Mark Newman called in a few of the players for a roundtable. He was just kind of picking our brains about what the Yankees did well as an organization and what things could be done better. I spoke up a little bit and felt really comfortable doing that, so maybe that helped me get my foot in the door.’’
Click here to read the rest of the Schmitt piece on The Times of Trenton host site at nj.com.