Now Commenting On:

{"content":["opening_week" ] }

Humble Anna makes Major League debut

Humble Anna makes Major League debut play video for Humble Anna makes Major League debut

TORONTO -- The drive from the Bo Jackson Elite Sports training center in Lockport, Ill., to Rogers Centre can be made with about a half-day and a few tanks of gasoline, as Dean Anna's close friends can now attest.

Making the jump from teaching tee-ballers baseball fundamentals to playing shortstop for the Yankees takes considerably longer, and that's something Anna can tell you plenty about.

Anna, 27, made his Major League debut for New York on Friday, stepping in as Derek Jeter's understudy with the Yankees opening a three-game series in Toronto. He picked up his first big league hit in the ninth inning of a 7-3 win.

Anna said that he never could have anticipated this series of developments.

"I didn't. I really didn't," Anna said. "I'm lucky. I'm happy to be a Yankee. It's amazing, an amazing feeling. The history, it's top-notch."

A part-time player for his first four years in the Padres' system, Anna led the Pacific Coast League in hitting with a .331 average last year for Triple-A Tucson, but San Diego did not promote him to the Majors. Instead, they traded him to New York last November for right-hander Ben Paullus, providing a fresh start that excited Anna.

Around the time of the trade, Anna was reporting for his offseason job underneath a dome in the suburbs of Chicago, where he is an employee of Jackson's facility. Anna said that for the last three years, he has been teaching baseball fundamentals to athletes from age 6 all the way up to high school and college.

"I'm big over there with helping out the kids and stuff, all year round," Anna said. "It's a good time. I enjoy doing that. ... I can give information that I never really got when I was growing up. That's the best part of the youth coming up, you want to give them as much as possible."

Those kids had something to cheer about when Anna made the Yanks' roster in his first big league Spring Training camp. Anna said that two of his fellow instructors from his offseason job made the long trek to Toronto for the game; his parents, meanwhile, will watch on TV back home in Illinois.

"I can't ask for more, that's for sure," Anna said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["opening_week" ] }
{"content":["opening_week" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español