Anthony Volpe ‘excited’ to see ex-teammate Jack Leiter make debut

TORONTO — The Yankees have Thursday off, which is good news for Anthony Volpe.

The shortstop won’t need a break from his red-hot start to the season, but he will need a few hours Thursday afternoon to watch childhood friend and former teammate Jack Leiter make his MLB debut.

“I have a day off, so [I’ll be watching] Volpe said this before going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Anthony Volpe (left) was teammates with Jack Reiter when they played at Delbarton High School in New Jersey. delbarton sports

The Rangers announced Tuesday that Reiter has been called up from Triple-A and will start Thursday against the Tigers in Detroit.

As soon as Volpe saw the news, he texted the writer and they exchanged messages throughout the day.

“I couldn’t be happier for him and his entire family and all of you. I’m so excited,” Volpe said. “I think his cell phone was going crazy, and all of our friends and family friends are really excited.”

Volpe and Reiter met as children on an Upper East Side playground — when Reiter’s father, Al, was a pitcher for the Mets and Volpe’s family still lived in the city — and later moved to Delbarton. We met again when we were in the same class at school. Schools in New Jersey.

Volpe and Reiter helped Delbarton win a state championship in their senior year and played together on Team USA and various All-America and area-code games.

These are the memories Volpe was quick to mention on Tuesday when asked about his favorite memories.

Jack Reiter, who pitched during spring training, was called up by the Rangers on Tuesday. Joe Campoale-USA TODAY Sports

“I won,” said Volpe, who made a big leap early this season after his rookie year. “And being able to play behind him and watch him pitch and dominate. Obviously in high school, but Team USA and all the things we were able to do together.”

Volpe and Reiter were scheduled to go to Vanderbilt together (in a class that included Yankees top prospect Spencer Jones) before the Yankees swooped in and took Volpe with the 30th overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Volpe couldn’t turn down his favorite team, but Leiter (whom the Yankees made a 20th round pick in the second half of that draft knowing he was almost certain to keep his college commitments) continued on to Vanderbilt. Ta.

In the bottom of the seventh inning when the Yankees lost 5-4 to the Blue Jays, Anthony Volpe threw out first baseman and third baseman Ernie Clement (not pictured). John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The right-hander was then selected by the Rangers with the second overall pick in 2021.

In the meantime, Volpe and Leiter returned to Delbarton in the summer of 2020 after the coronavirus took away Volpe and Leiter’s minor league season at Vanderbilt and Leiter’s full season.

Reiter pitched to Volpe in a simulated game, and both were able to work against high-level competition.

“Just a super competitor, very mentally tough and obviously insanely talented,” Volpe said of Reiter. “With all of his pitches, he can compete. I’m excited to watch.”

For now, these sessions will be the last time Volpe will play against Reiter. However, the Rangers will visit the Bronx in August before the Yankees head to Arlington, Texas, in September.

Volpe is already thinking about facing Reiter for the first time in the major leagues.

“Definitely even before he was called,” Volpe said with a laugh. “I’m excited.”

Volpe, 22, also spoke passionately about the support he and Reiter received from the Delbarton community on their path to the big leagues.

“This is unbelievable for the entire community,” Volpe said. “I know what level we were at, whether it was me when I first got drafted in the minors or him when he went to Vandy. No matter where you are, the same level of support. It’s great to see there is.”

“Obviously everyone is rooting for you right now and it’s so exciting. But what’s most impressive, at least from my perspective, is how much they support you throughout the journey.” I think.”