The Yankees drafted the North Carolina product in the fourth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, and he spent a weekend series against the Red Sox late last season in the Yankees' clubhouse. This year's Spring Training was his second spent with the big league club, and manager Joe Girardi noticed an improved sense of belonging. He also noticed an ability to pitch against Boston.
Warren started against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., on March 22, throwing four scoreless innings against a lineup that featured Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis -- whom Warren will face as a member of the White Sox -- Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz. He allowed two hits and walked none, throwing 42 of his 51 pitches for strikes. Reminded of the start, Girardi said one word: Impressive.
"It wasn't where he saw just right-handed hitters. He saw pretty much their full lineup," Girardi said. "I thought he pitched down in the zone. I thought he pitched in and was effective in. I thought his breaking ball was outstanding. I thought he used his changeup. It did stick out in my mind. It gave us a lot to think of when we were trying to decide who our 12th pitcher was."
It was not Warren, but he got the call after a strong June at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre saw him finish 3-2 in five starts with a 2.03 ERA over 31 innings. He had a 4.99 ERA through his first 10 starts, allowing 30 runs in 54 1/3 innings, which he attributed to poor rhythm out of Spring Training.
He most recently threw five scoreless innings Sunday, and his start Friday would be his usual day to start on regular rest. He was throwing a bullpen session Wednesday, when pitching coach Scott Aldred informed him of his promotion.
He already had a suspicion, as general manager Brian Cashman said that morning that Warren would likely be recalled to pitch out of the bullpen behind Freddy Garcia, and Warren's agent texted him the news. An injury to Andy Pettitte altered those plans, which Warren said he tried not to think about so he would not get "too high, then too low."
He brought his wife with him to New York on Thursday and expected 12 family members to make the trip from North Carolina for his start.
"We got him here today thinking he could get used to his surroundings, relax a little bit, watch the game and feel the atmosphere before he goes out there tomorrow," Girardi said. "When you see a young guy coming up, enjoy the moment. Take a moment to realize where you are and what you've accomplished and your opportunity here, and then just go to work.
"I'm sure there's going to be a lot of butterflies tomorrow, but hopefully he can get through that first inning and settle down."