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Former Yankees No. 1 pick Brackman feels more comfortable in Cincy

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Former Yankees No. 1 draft choice Andrew Brackman says he's a better fit with his hometown Cincinnati Reds than he was with the Yankees. Mostly, he meant that in terms of personality and feel. But he was referring to his size, too.

Brackman said the Yankees housed him at a hotel in Manhattan for his brief callup to New York last September, and he found that at 6-foot-11, the subway wasn't for him. "Oh man, I didn't fit on it. It was bad,'' Brackman recalled. "It was really crowded. And I remember standing next to the light and I just started sweating.''

Brackman, from Westchester, Ohio, just outside Cincinnati, is thrilled to be back home after feeling out of his element as a Yankee. He says the Reds clubhouse is laid-back and younger. "I think it's just a better fit,'' Brackman said. "I feel more comfortable. I could actually drive to the ballpark, and know where to go.'' His parent had put their home up for sale but they took it off the market after Brackman, the former basketball and baseball standout at North Carolina State, signed a major league deal with the Reds.

The righthander is not expected to make the Reds out of camp but said he's thrown better this spring than he ever has before in spring. He knows his reputation took a hit when he was 3-6 with a 6.00 ERA at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre last year and had trouble throwing strikeouts (he had exactly 75 walks and 75 strikeouts in 96 innings). He said he struggled with his mechanics and confidence last year, though he threw three scoreless innings in his cameo with the Yankees.

Referring to the Yankees' numbers game, he also said, "I guess I never saw the light at the end of the tunnel.'' Though, being a subway ride, he spent a fair amount of time in the tunnel.
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