Jace Peterson making the most of his time in pinstripes
Peterson was already battling a handful of others for a job this spring, and the Yankees' addition of Neil Walker on Monday surely complicated things even more. Regardless of how his question is answered, though, Peterson chose the Yankees for a reason; yes, there was opportunity once both Starlin Castro and Chase Headley were traded and a pair of infield spots opened up, but it meant something that said opportunity was also in pinstripes.
"This means a lot; I was on the Yankees playing tee-ball and machine pitch, so I always watched the Yankees and the guys who came up through the organization," Peterson revealed at Yankees media day. "Playing shortstop myself, I became a huge fan of Derek Jeter, and so being able to wear this uniform and go out there and represent everyone who has done it for this historic franchise means a lot."
Peterson is now on his third major-league organization after being drafted by the Padres in 2011; he made his MLB debut in San Diego in 2014, but was dealt to Atlanta in the Justin Upton deal that winter and spent three seasons with the Braves.
So, coming to the Yankees is a bit of an adjustment, but it's not one he is unfamiliar with.
"Obviously, it's different every time you go to a new clubhouse, and each one has it's different way," he said, "but so far it's been great here. Everyone has just made it so easy, and it's great when you can go out there and get your work in, and you come back to the clubhouse and there are some guys in there that have kind of the same interests as you do."
Peterson fancies himself a bit of an outdoorsman, and has found a few go-to buddies to discuss hunting and fishing with, but he's also made it a point as a young veteran to get to know everyone.
I'm loving just getting to know everyone, and I've had a lot of conversations with a lot of guys, just trying to learn them and see how they go about their work," Peterson said. "I get in where I fit in, but this clubhouse is up there with any of them that I've ever been in."
With less than two weeks to go, Peterson has limited opportunities left to show that he belongs on the major-league roster. Of course, every single person he's competing for a spot with has something to say about that as well, but he's confident that he's done all he can so far, and will have represented himself in the best possible way when all is said and done.
"You know, any day you get to put on a professional uniform is a good day, so for me, I just want to come out here and compete and be a good teammate," he said. "Those are the two main things I try to keep focused on every day, and as long as I work hard, the rest will take care of itself."