A dark-horse option for Yankees 1st base is making a lot of noise

Mike Ford’s a Princeton man, so he’s smart enough to know the chances of a four-year college baseball player who went undrafted reaching the big leagues.

Yet since Sunday, the first baseman has resided one small (and large) step away from the Yankees.

Ford, 24 and from Belle Mead, N.J., was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after incumbent first baseman Ji-Man Choi went on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Ford, who had been slashing .303/.412/.450 at Double-A Trenton, is now next in line for a call-up to the Yankees, who house Greg Bird (DL) and Chris Carter (batting .221 entering Friday) at first.

“Each level is definitely a step up,” said Ford, who capped his Princeton career by becoming the first ever to be named the Ivy League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year, before signing with the Yankees in 2013. “The pitching is a little different here. In hitters’ counts, you’re going to get more offspeed stuff. … The quality of play is amazing here. We see a lot of talent, the team has a ton of talent.”

Yet, Ford started off hot. He got a hit in his first five games and homered in three straight entering Friday. His right-handed hitting power, out of a 6-foot, 225-pound frame, has begun to emerge after homering eight times last season.

His batter’s eye has been the most impressive, however. He drew 41 walks to 29 strikeouts last season, and he said a goal is to have a similar ratio this year. In 37 games thus far, he had walked 24 times and struck out 23.

“If some things were to happen, that would be great,” Ford said about a possible promotion to The Bronx. “But if you worry about it a little too much, you kind of lose your focus.”


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