Big league dreams currently on hold for Ort

Pitcher waits for chance with Yankees
Posted at 2:58 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 17:32:18-04
Former Aquinas pitcher preps for return of baseball

There is still no agreement between the owners and players in Major League Baseball. No one knows when or if they will return to the diamond this year.

It has many frustrated, especially players that were hoping to break through this season.

Hard throwing relief pitcher Kaleb Ort is among those.

Ort, who pitches in the Yankees system, throws 95 mph consistently, getting it up as high as 98.

The Lowell High School and Aquinas College graduate thought this might be the season season he made the show.

"I thought I was close," Ort said. "A lot of the pitching coaches they’re telling me I’m right there.”

The road to getting close was a little different for Ort.

He tore the UCL in his throwing arm his senior year at Aquinas, didn't have surgery, instead rehabbed for a year.

When healthy he traveled the country attending big league tryouts eventually landing in the independent leagues.

He signed with Diamondbacks after the 2016 season but was released in spring training the following year. Two months later the Yankees came calling.

After rookie ball in 2017, Ort struck out 69 in 55 innings in 2018 between high A and double A. Last year he fanned 78 in just 50 innings with 24 of his 35 appearances coming at triple A.

“My slider quality had to get better during the offseason which it did," Ort said. "Came in and it was better and my fastball command needed to get better. Command and two-strike execution."

He got better in last offseason, largely on his own working with his college catcher and sometimes throwing at the indoor facility at Aquinas.

“It is just me on my own unless I get ahold of one of the pitching coaches or coordinators," Ort said. "I don’t have any of that rapsodo or technology to get on so I just kind of work on it with one of my catchers and see what we can do with it day-to-day.”

If Major League Baseball does have a season, the big league rosters are going to need insurance, extra arms just in case. Ort could be one of those.

“Right now I am just waiting," Ort said. "Just throwing and working out and just waiting to hear what’s going on.”

Ort said he doesn't expect anything but wants to be optimistic about getting a chance.