You can safely say the week from June 14 to Friday might have been the strangest in Chris Bootcheck’s pro baseball career.
Pitching well in the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation, the 34-year-old LaPorte graduate was suddenly called up to the parent New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers desperately needed a fresh bullpen arm after using up their relievers in an 18-inning game against Oakland on June 13.
In his first big-league appearance since 2009, Bootcheck pitched one inning against the Angels in Anaheim, giving up one run. Three days later, to make room on the roster amid a flurry of player moves, the right-hander was designated for assignment.
The Yankees had the option of trading Bootcheck, letting him go via waivers or re-signing him to a minor-league deal. When he cleared waivers at noon Friday, Bootcheck re-signed with New York. He’ll go right back into the Triple-A rotation.
“I talked to my agent -- the Yankees wanted me back,” said Bootcheck. “I have a sweetened deal with the Yankees. I still have an opt-out (clause). If the opportunity presents itself, there’s interest somewhere else, I can go.
“The Yankees have taken care of me. I’m happy with the way things have gone. To me, I have some history here now with this organization.”
Just being called up for what he knew would be a temporary big-league stay thrilled Bootcheck, a onetime Angels and Pirates pitcher.
After his call-up, he tweeted: “Want to thank the Yankees organization for giving me the opportunity to play 2 when no one else would; the reward of seeing the bright lights again.”
Bootcheck, who was the closer in 2012 at Triple-A Toledo in the Tigers’ chain, signed late with the Yankees organization this season.
“(Yankees general manager) Brian (Cashman) was up front, very forward,” he said. “Honesty is kind of a stretch in any sport.”
Bootcheck was 5-2 in Triple-A. Wife Jina and daughters Marin, 6, and Olivia, 3, are living with him in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Hawkins back in town again: West Side alum LaTroy Hawkins makes his second trip back home with the Mets Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
With the Mets mired as deeply as the White Sox, Hawkins logically would be fodder for a trade to a contender. However, he’s not making himself more marketable for potentially his 11th team, giving up 38 hits in his first 29 2/3 innings.
Once in 25 years?: If the Cubs finish under .500, they’ll accomplish something no Wrigley Field team had done in 25 years despite their often spectacular record of failure.
The Cubs will have their fourth straight losing season, first since the quartet from 1985 to 1988. They also had six straight sub-.500 seasons from 1978 to 1983.
Ten straight losing years from 1953 to 1962 set up the Cubs’ 'lovable losers' image.
The list: Despite a .188 average in his first 68 games, the Sox’s Adam Dunn is on pace to be only the fifth player in Chicago baseball history to have back-to-back 40-homer seasons. The others are Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko (Sox), and the Cubs' Ernie Banks and Sammy Sosa.