Blane Abeyta signed with the New York Yankees as an undrafted free agent on June 20.
The 2017 Ceres High School grad was supposed to move to Florida this fall to begin his pro baseball career but the 2020 minor-league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“The hardest part is not being able to play right now,” the 6-foot-3 200-pound right-handed pitcher said. “I want to showcase my abilities. But at the same time, God has given me this opportunity to get better, bigger and stronger.”
“This is my job now,” Abeyta added. “I have to go in even when my body is not feeling well. I want to show everybody I’m a grinder.”
Abeyta works on his craft Monday through Saturday in Hughson with assistance from Omar Onate. He was Abeyta’s catcher at Modesto Junior College.
Onate built a pitching mound in his backyard.
“I’m using weighted baseballs to improve my velocity. I’ve seen a change. The ball is coming out of my hand a lot easier and smoother.”Blane Abeyta
“I’m using weighted baseballs to improve my velocity,” Abeyta said. “I’ve seen a change. The ball is coming out of my hand a lot easier and smoother.”
“We video throwing sessions,” he added. “We break down everything. I have a little journal I write in.”
Abeyta trains Monday through Saturday at Bonsu Elite Athletics in Ceres.
The Yankees provided the workout plan.
“They’ve seen me lift in the past,” Abeyta said. “They evaluated my videos and calibrated what I should be working on. They’re attacking my weaknesses.”
Abeyta deadlifts, back squats, bench presses and hang cleans 525, 405, 255 and 225 pounds, respectively.
“My form is great now,” he said. “I’m making progress in everything.”
Abeyta has also changed his diet. He eats eight ounces of flank steak or chicken with rice and broccoli twice a day, seven days a week.
“I got to thank my mom (Terra),” he said. “She started meal prepping for me.”
Abeyta will most likely suit up for the Gulf Coast League Tampa Tarpons, a Class-A affiliate of the Yankees, when he resumes his baseball career.
“I’m just waiting for whatever’s next,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll be going to Spring Training. In two to three years, I’m hoping to be in Triple-A or the big leagues. I want to make a name for myself.”
The Yankees expressed interest in signing Abeyta after scout Tyler Robertson watched him pitch multiple times with the latest outing being at Grace Davis Park in Modesto on June 19.
“I’m thankful they took a chance on me,” he said. “I’m living a dream. I want to show kids from the town of Ceres anything is possible if you work hard.”