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Mullee makes the majors: Broad Run alum earns relief appearance with Yankees

Conor Mullee poses with his parents Joe and Clare at Yankee Stadium after being called up from the minors.—Courtesy Photo
For three days in May, Ashburn native Conor Mullee got a taste of the big-league life. Now he's chomping at the bit to get back.

On May 14, Mullee – a product of Loudoun, an alumnus of Dulles Little League and a graduate of Broad Run High School - became a full-fledged big-leaguer with the New York Yankees.

Two days later, he strode to the mound with New York stitched across his chest, about to etch his name on that select list of people to ever appear in a Major League Baseball game.

"That was a special moment for me and my family," said Mullee, who immediately called parents Joe and Clare upon getting the news. "Ever since I was a little kid, I've wanted to be a major league baseball player."

His call to the big league came as a surprise - "I had no clue" - but was nonetheless earned. Pitching for the Yankees' Triple-A club in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Mullee allowed just two runs and 11 hits in 18 innings through May 20, racking up 23 strikeouts while holding batters to a .175 average. He's won three ballgames and saved three others.

His MLB debut was shaky, working an inning of relief against Arizona in which he surrendered three walks and hit a batter. He recorded an impressive strikeout, getting Paul Goldschmidt - last year's runner-up for the National League's Most Valuable Player award - to go down swinging.

"You're trying to keep your emotions under control," said Mullee of his first MLB outing. "But I've been working for the last six years to get to that moment. I kind of let my emotions get to me a little bit. But it was a great experience. Got my first one under my belt."

Mullee was returned to Scranton on May 17 but retains his coveted spot on the Yankees' 40-man roster. He hopes to be called back to the Big Apple before the season is done.

The "cup of coffee" Mullee had with the top club is made more remarkable considering he was a shortstop until June of 2010. That's when the Yankees drafted him in the 24th round and turned him into a pitcher.

"Shortstop was my first love. Defense was always my best attribute," said Mullee, who's undergone three elbow surgeries since signing his first professional contract.

"The Yankees gave me a chance as a pitcher and I'm fortunate they gave me that opportunity. I still remember my shortstop days, but I love pitching now."

Grown from Loudoun roots

Mullee credits Andrew Dombek of AID Performance in Ashburn for helping him recover from arm operations in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

He also credits Pat Cassidy and Jason Bagby, then-coaches of the Ashburn Pirates travel team, for being positive influences during Mullee's formative years in the sport.

"I was maybe 10 or 11," Mullee recalled. "They're two great coaches. [They] really made me understand what it means to play the game the right way."

Cassidy worked with Mullee from their Pirates days through four years in the Broad Run program, which Cassidy headed. The coach said that Mullee has always shown a willingness to work hard.

"What stood out to me about Conor was he had a really, really strong work ethic," Cassidy said. "Always wanted extra ground balls, extra swings. In the off-season, he'd go work in the field on his own or get in the weight room.

"He was always trying to do something to get better at baseball."

Conor Mullee

-Right-Handed Pitcher
-New York Yankees
-Age: 28
-Height: 6'4"
-Weight: 195 lbs.
-College: Saint Peter's
-High school: Broad Run
-Travel team: Ashburn Pirates
-Little League: Dulles

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