NEW YORK – It was like a family reunion between Yankees first team captain Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs on Friday afternoon at Yankees Stadium.
He was on the field talking with his former teammates and members of the coaching staff, and why not? Rizzo was an integral part of the Cubs for 9 seasons and helped them win the world title in 2016.
Friday wasn’t the first time he had seen his former teammates since he was dealt with the Bronx Bombers last summer. For example, Rizzo went out with defensive player Ian Hap on Friday morning. Rizzo is also in contact with defensive player Jason Hayward and manager David Ross via text message throughout the year.
“We still keep in touch. It’s good to see their faces [today]Rizzo said. “…It’s refreshing to see people in person rather than over text messages on the phone.”
Rizzo faces the Cubs for the second time in his career. The last time he played against them was as a member of the Padres on September 28, 2011, in San Diego. In that game, Rizzo went 0 for 3 with a walk. By 2012, he was a member of Cubs and thrived in Chicago.
Rizzo admitted that when he plays at Wrigley Field again it will be emotional for him, but in a good way. Despite being away for about a year, Rizzo is still aware of what is going on with the team. He realizes, for example, that first baseman Frank Schwendel got off to a slow start and was selected in May.
“Now, he is fine. You have players who have been serious about this game for a while and have the opportunity now,” Rizzo said. It’s not easy to get opportunities in this game when you grow up.
“PJ Higgins records his first home run, it was fun to see from afar. I know how long he’s been in the organization and what kind of person he is.”
Yes, he misses Chicago, but Rizzo is enjoying his time with the Yankees. After all, they have the best record in baseball. Rizzo was an integral part of that, too. Besides being an excellent defensive leader, Rizzo has been productive on the plate with 14 home runs and 39 RBI entries on Friday, both second on the team behind Aaron Judge.
“at [to New York] It was a great opportunity last year to come to a team that was competing and winning,” said Rizzo. The atmosphere and culture here are amazing, check in again [in the offseason]. … being in the first place, it helps. But all the little things that go into it have been so much fun this year.”