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Blue Jays Pitcher Makes Majors Debut

September 8, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Vinnie Chulk trotted in from the bullpen, got ready to pitch and then realized where he was.

``I saw Jeter and just being in Yankee Stadium, I was like, ’Oh, my God!‴ the Toronto Blue Jays rookie said.

Chulk began his major league career by allowing a single to Derek Jeter and then another hit to Jason Giambi, but got out of the seventh inning Monday. He settled down and came back to pitch a scoreless eighth in the Blue Jays’ 9-3 loss to New York.

``My adrenaline was pumping, I was so excited and just trying not to throw to the back screen,″ Chulk said.

The 24-year-old right-hander was called up last week from Triple-A Syracuse. He was 8-10 with a 4.22 ERA in the International League.

The Blue Jays, who have fallen out of playoff contention, are trying to get a look at some young arms in the final month of the season.

``I saw him in spring training some, he has good stuff,″ Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said.

Chulk was a 12th-round pick in the 2000 draft and was 27-27 in four minor league seasons.

After starter Kelvim Escobar was roughed up for eight runs in 3 1-3 innings, the Blue Jays turned to their bullpen. By the seventh inning, it was time for Chulk to make his big league debut.

And what a tough way to begin a career _ facing five straight All-Stars and the team with the best record in the American League.

The Yankees threatened with two straight hits. But then Chulk fielded Bernie Williams’ comebacker for the first out, and followed by striking out Hideki Matsui and getting Aaron Boone on foul pop.

``He was keyed up the first inning he was in, but he showed a lot of poise,″ Tosca said.

A visit from second baseman Orlando Hudson seemed to relax the rookie.

``Orlando went out there, took some initiative and helped settle him down. They had played together before,″ Tosca said.

In the eighth, Chulk got two quick outs before Alfonso Soriano singled. Chulk retired Nick Johnson on a fly ball to end his first outing with a 0.00 ERA.

In the clubhouse after the game, Tosca walked up to Chulk and put his hand on the young pitcher’s chest.

``How’s your heart now?″ Tosca asked.

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