Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Yankees give ex-Brandon, USF standout Myron Leslie one last shot at majors

TAMPA — For the past seven years, Myron Leslie has lived a minor-league life in a world that cares only for the majors, a life long on frustration and short on rewards.

Now it is a life that has come full circle.

Leslie, 27, a former star at Brandon High and USF, is back in the bay area trying to revitalize his career with the Tampa Yankees of the Class A Florida State League.

He plays his home games at Steinbrenner Field, where he had hoped to spend spring training one day in the big leagues.

"I always thought what it would be like to be here," Leslie said.

"I get the chance to play in front of family and friends and sleep in my own bed each night."

The only thing Leslie could not imagine was the route he took to get there.

In high school and college, Leslie possessed magnificent skills playing primarily as an infielder. In 2004, while he was with USF, scouts flocked to see him, weighing every conceivable attribute.

He left as the Bulls' career leader in hits (312), games (241), doubles (74), runs (227) and walks (174). During his senior season in 2004, he led USF in batting (.361), doubles (23) and runs (60).

That same year, Leslie was drafted by the A's in the eighth round. His best season was 2006, when he hit .273 with 17 home runs and 100 RBIs for Stockton of the Class A California League.

But he didn't sustain those numbers while spending the next five seasons in the A's system, none above Double A.

In 2009, he was released.

"It wasn't a complete shock," Leslie said. "The A's had signed a lot of free agents that year, which was going to delay my progress. I felt I was being squeezed out."

No big-league club offered him a tryout. So he spent last season with the New Jersey Jackals of the independent Canadian-American Association, hitting .272 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs.

It wasn't enough to get the attention of a major-league team.

This spring, Eddie Cardieri, who coached Leslie at USF, called and offered a suggestion.

"I asked Myron if he was willing to try catching," said Cardieri, who is now coaching with the Macon (Ga.) Pinetoppers of the independent Peach State League. "He put up pretty good numbers in Oakland's organization, but they might not have projected well as an infielder in the big leagues.

"He never really caught before except in instructional games, but he looked like (former major-league standout catcher) Charles Johnson behind the plate. And if he put up the same numbers as a catcher, he could be an All-Star."

Leslie (6 feet 3, 220 pounds) took a day to think about it before agreeing to switch. Cardieri then called Mark Newman, the Yankees' senior vice president of baseball operations, to see if the organization was willing to give Leslie a tryout.

It was.

And it wasn't just a one- or two-day evaluation. The Yankees gave him a 30-day tryout during spring training before assigning him to Tampa.

"You have to give the Yankees credit for really taking a good look at him," Cardieri said.

It took a while for Leslie to adjust to the nuances of his new position such as calling pitches, keeping runners in check and helping position the defense.

"It's something that takes getting used to day in and day out," Leslie said. "I think it's something that will make me more valuable as a player down the road."

Entering Friday, Leslie was hitting .254 with seven doubles and 20 RBIs in 46 games.

His hopes of quickly moving up the organizational ladder, though, could be hindered due to a surplus of catching talent the Yankees have in the minors.

Still, Leslie is happy to have another chance to make it.

"This is a great opportunity the Yankees have given me," Leslie said. "I don't know if I will make it to the majors, but I'm trying to make the most of it."

Bob Putnam can be reached at

Yankees give ex-Brandon, USF standout Myron Leslie one last shot at majors 07/16/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 9:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Former closer Sergio Romo acquired from Dodgers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays made a move to help the bullpen Saturday night when they acquired RHP Sergio Romo, who had been designated for assignment last week by the Dodgers.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 7, 2017.
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs wife's "not worth risk'' opinion on Daytona

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday defended his wife's Twitter post — and blamed himself for putting her in a position where she believed she had to speak out and upset some of his fans.

    Amy Earnhardt worries about Dale Jr.’s concussions.