NEW YORK -- Andrew Brackman walked out of the stadium after a June loss in Durham, N.C., asking himself if this was the night he was ready to give up on baseball.
It was rock bottom for Brackman, the Yankees' first-round pick in 2007, seemingly having forgotten how to throw a strike four years after inking his contract.
"I got hot in the bullpen, it was a close game, and I think I threw maybe six or seven balls over the catcher," said Brackman, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday. "I had to stop the game."
By the time Brackman's June 26 outing was complete, he had been charged with five runs and three walks, recording just one out in what would end as an 11-3 loss.
Making matters worse, Durham Bulls Athletic Park is close to Brackman's alma mater, North Carolina State.
"I was getting Brackman chants while I was warming up," he said. "I couldn't throw a fastball for a strike, so I kept on throwing curveballs. It was awful. I think I probably didn't shower after the game, I just left with my friends, it was that bad."
Brackman, 25, said he even called home to his father, Mark, asking if he should keep going.
"I had some conversations with my dad talking about what to do after baseball. It was definitely the lowest point of the season for me," Brackman said. "We didn't come up with any Plan B's. He yelled at me and told me to get on the bus."
Brackman believes he turned his season around late by changing his mechanics on his own, holding his hands higher to his chest the way he did in college.
He was 1-0 with a save and a 2.35 ERA in 12 appearances after the All-Star break for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, finishing the year 3-6 with a 6.00 ERA in 33 games (13 starts).
"After the game in Durham, it was hard to get on the bus, to tell you the truth," Brackman said. "It was very hard to get on the bus. I just stuck with it and have been getting better ever since."
Brackman still sees himself as a starter someday, though he hopes to get into a game with the Yankees out of the bullpen this month. He spent September with the club last year and warmed up once in a game against the Red Sox, but his number wasn't called.
"I finished the season pretty strong," Brackman said. "It was a rough season again, but I feel pretty confident with where I'm at and how I'm throwing the ball."
Pena among callups filling out Yankees' roster
NEW YORK -- Ramiro Pena woke up with splitting pain at 4 a.m. ET in his hotel room on the morning of July 18, making an emergency phone call to head athletic trainer Gene Monahan.
Within hours, the Yankees infielder was having an emergency appendectomy and missed 47 team games before being recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday.
"It's a new experience. It happens," Pena said. "It was kind of tough that day, and after that, you just get used to it. I hope they put me in the lineup and try to help the team to win."Pena was summoned to help fill out the expanded September roster, along with right-handed relievers Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi and George Kontos, plus outfielder Greg Golson.
"I think guys are being rewarded," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We're looking at what we have in the Minor Leagues; if there's an opportunity for our guys to pitch in some games, they'll pitch. You want to save your guys as much as you can; our bullpen has been worked pretty hard of late, where we've had to give guys a couple days off. Those extra arms never hurt."
In order to make room for Kontos on the 40-man roster, right-hander Lance Pendleton was designated for assignment.
Yankees reward Sept. 6 ticketholders
NEW YORK -- In recognition of Tuesday's inclement conditions at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees announced that they will reward all fans holding tickets for the Sept. 6 game against the Orioles with a free ticket offer.
Fans may redeem valid tickets -- whether they were used to attend Tuesday's game or not -- for a free Grandstand Level or Terrace Level ticket at Yankee Stadium for a game during the 2012 season, subject to availability.
Alternatively, fans may choose to use valid Sept. 6 tickets as a coupon for 50 percent off the purchase price of a ticket in any other non-suite seating location to a game for the 2012 season, subject to availability.
The free ticket and coupon offer is not valid for and cannot be redeemed for premium games, such as Opening Day, Old-Timers' Day and all home games against the Red Sox and Mets.
Tickets can be redeemed or presented as a coupon at Yankee Stadium ticket windows only, starting on April 2, 2012.
With two homers in Monday's 11-10 victory over the Orioles, Jesus Montero became the first Yankee to hit his first two career home runs in the same game since Shane Spencer in 1998. He was the second Yankee since 1920 to have a multihomer game within his first four games, joining Shelley Duncan (2007).
Entering play on Tuesday, Robinson Cano had hit safely in nine straight games and 26 of his last 27 contests since Aug. 7, batting .348 (39-for-112) with six homers and 30 RBIs over the stretch.