Thompson gets starting nod in Blue Crabs’ opening series
La Plata graduate to pitch Saturday, determined to make most out of career
Daryl Thompson often has fond memories of his days playing Major League Baseball.
The 2003 La Plata High School graduate most notably remembers making his first-ever big league start for the Cincinnati Reds under former manager Dusty Baker — now the manager of the Washington Nationals — as they took on the New York Yankees.
It was on June 21, 2008 before a soldout crowd of 54,509 at the old Yankee Stadium where the former rookie Reds young gun, who was 22 years old at the time, proved to be too much to handle.
Thompson worked five innings in front of his family and former high school coach, allowing just four hits with two strikeouts and four walks in a no-decision, as the Reds walked away with a 6-0 win.
“I hadn’t slept in three days,” said Thompson recalling the moment. “I was so excited thinking about going up against the Yankees lineup. It was a great experience that I will never forget.”
He was locked up in a pitcher’s duel with then Yankees rookie Dan Giese, who was also making his first-ever start, and was relieved after those five innings with the game still scoreless.
The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the second, but Thompson struck out Jorge Posada, got Robinson Cano to pop out to catcher Paul Bako and fanned Melky Cabrera.
An inning later, Thompson gave up a single to five-time World Series champion and Gold Glove award winner Derek Jeter. But he pulled out some more magic out of his hat, retiring the heart of the order — Bobby Abreu, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi — on three flyouts.
Now the 31-year-old right-hander, who enters his sixth season with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League, still has aspirations of making it back to the big leagues, but only time will tell.
“I would like the opportunity to to be in the big leagues one last time,” Thompson
said. “But I’m happy just to be playing pro baseball. At the end of the day it is all about opportunity and playing for the Blue Crabs is where I’m at right now.”
Saturday night, Thompson is slated to be take the hill as the starter in Game 3 of a four-game set against the Long Island Ducks at Waldorf’s Regency Furniture Stadium scheduled for 6:35 p.m. The Blue Crabs were scheduled to have opening night on Thursday night with Game 2 of the series set for 6:35 tonight. The series wraps up at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s always great to play in front of home fans,” said Thompson, who was drafted out of high school in 2003 by the Montreal Expos, which left for Washington before the 2005 season. “From growing up playing baseball here in Southern Maryland it really has always been home and everyone has supported me so much. It has been fun. I’m looking forward to playing another season here and it all starts with trying to win the series in Long Island.”
Blue Crabs manager John Harris, in his first season at the helm, has seen Thompson pitch only three or four times.
“He throws the ball hard and his velocity is up,” Harris said. “He works very hard and one of our veterans who have been around for a while. He brings a lot of leadership and the way he carries himself is what I’m impressed with. We have some strong arms on our pitching staff and I’m looking forward to having Daryl in our starting rotation.”
Thompson made big league appearances in 2008 and 2011 before several shoulder surgeries affected his process. He signed with the Blue Crabs in 2012 and was an Atlantic League All-Star in 2013 before getting assigned to the New York Mets Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate for a brief stint.
Daryl Thompson, a 2003 La Plata High School graduate, enters his sixth season with the Blue Crabs. He will start Saturday in Game 3 of a four-game set versus the Long Island Ducks at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.