Yankees’ Chris Gittens’ ‘mind went blank’ after milestone home run

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BUFFALO — Chris Gittens nearly had his first major league home run — and hit — last week in Minnesota, but his long drive to right went foul.

On Tuesday, there was no doubt his fourth-inning shot was gone, as Gittens broke an 0-for-14 start to his career with a solo homer in the Yankees’ 6-5 win over the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field.

“I touched first base and my mind went blank,’’ Gittens said. “I didn’t care [if the first hit] was a home run or a little squibber.”

But Clint Frazier thought it was appropriate.

“He really wanted that hit,’’ Frazier said. “[Gittens] is a power hitter and I think he’s ecstatic his first one landed on a highway in Buffalo, New York. How else could you draw it up?”

Gittens got his chance after the Yankees were unable to find a replacement for Luke Voit elsewhere, with the since-retired Jay Bruce opening the season at first and DJ LeMahieu and Miguel Andujar also getting opportunities.

Chris Gittens
Chris Gittens

The Yankees turned to Gittens after they sent down Mike Ford following his unproductive turn at first. Ford has since been designated for assignment.

With Voit on a rehab assignment coming back from an oblique strain and expected back by next week, Gittens’ time with the Yankees will likely be limited.

But the new father said he’s going to give the home-run ball, which was retrieved by Yankees security, to his newborn son.

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