Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe will make his big-league debut on Thursday when New York hosts the San Francisco Giants at 1:05 p.m. ET. When he does so, he'll be wearing a new number: No. 11, rather than his spring No. 77. As it turns out, Volpe decided to make a phone call before making the switch.
According to YES Network's Jack Curry, Volpe rang longtime Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, the last member of the team to wear No. 11, and made sure he was OK with it before accepting the digits as his own. Gardner, of course, had a quality career with the Yankees, accumulating more than 44 Wins Above Replacement over the course of 14 big-league seasons.
Before Anthony Volpe agreed to wear #11 with the Yankees, he called Brett Gardner, who last wore 11, and asked for Gardner's blessing. According to Joe Bick, Gardner's agent, Gardner gave Volpe his full approval and wished him all the best with 11. Classy on both ends. #Volpe— JackCurryYES (@JackCurryYES) March 29, 2023
Whether or not Volpe can fair equally as well during his Yankees career is to be seen. Earlier this spring, CBS Sports ranked him as the game's 12th best prospect. Here's what we wrote:
Volpe enjoyed a breakout 2021 season, homering 27 times after adding muscle to his frame. He didn't match that performance last season -- he outright struggled during a 22-game introduction to Triple-A, striking out 30 percent of the time -- thereby delaying his debut until sometime next summer. Volpe still projects as an above-average hitter who can contribute in each of the slash line categories. Defensively, he'll have to continue to prove that he can make all the plays at short despite a substandard arm. It's possible that he'll eventually end up at the keystone.
For those wondering, Volpe will become the 32th player in Yankees franchise history to wear No. 11, joining a group that includes Gary Sheffield, Chuck Knoblauch, Fred Stanley, Héctor López, Lefty Gomez, and Waite Hoyt to name a handful.