ST. PETERSBURG -- David Phelps' strong spring will pay off in the form of a lifelong dream on Friday, as the 25-year-old right-hander savors his spot on an Opening Day roster.
Phelps was told by Yankees manager Joe Girardi this week that he had made the club as a long reliever, coming off a spring in which he posted a 2.08 ERA in seven appearances (one start).
"It was great. It's always your dream to make it to the big leagues," Phelps said. "Your emotions don't quite know what to do when it happens, but it's nice because it's a lot of time and effort, and it finally pays off."
Phelps also won the James P. Dawson Award, honoring the top rookie in Yankees camp, this spring. After going 7-7 with a 2.99 ERA in 20 Minor League starts last year, Phelps permitted four earned runs and 16 hits in 17 1/3 spring innings, walking four and striking out 14.
"I just went out there and had fun with it. I didn't put too much pressure on myself," Phelps said. "I went out there and tried to stay under control, tried to attack the zone as much as I could. I think that's one of the things they noticed, that I was attacking hitters. I wasn't walking guys like I was last year. I was really confident in my stuff and went out and pitched to my ability."
Phelps said that he will have to learn on the fly how to get loose out of the bullpen, something he hasn't done much since he was at Notre Dame. The spring has been eventful; Phelps and his wife, Maria, had their first child, a daughter named Adeline, on March 22.
"She gives us at least two five-hour sleeps per night, so we're incredibly blessed with that," Phelps said. "She's extremely healthy, she's eating great, she's sleeping great. We couldn't ask for anything better."