Josh Judy begins a journey to become just the fourth pitcher to make it to the big leagues after playing for the York Revolution.
Josh Judy begins a journey to become just the fourth pitcher to make it to the big leagues after playing for the York Revolution. (Bil Bowden photo)

It's no wonder right-hander Josh Judy is admittedly humble.

The York Revolution reliever and former big leaguer understands just how far he has come in his career from where his journey began.

Just go back to his time at University High School in Morgantown, W. Va., where he was set to be the football team's starting quarterback entering his senior year, only to have those plans derailed by a torn left meniscus suffered in preseason practice.

Or go back to his time at the Indiana Institute of Technology, a small NCAA Division III school with roughly the same student population as York College's 4,000-plus students. That was the only school to recruit him to play baseball. The 6-foot, 4-inch right-hander used the opportunity at Indiana Tech to later get drafted in 2007 by the Cleveland Indians in the 34th round. He then overcame the doubts that often surface against players drafted in the later rounds to make it to the big leagues, where he debuted in 2011.

Judy is the perfect example of a guy who has overcome the odds, no matter what he's faced.

"I'm just lucky to not only get drafted, but was able to get to the major leagues at the highest stage," Judy said Tuesday following York's second day of spring training practice at Sovereign Bank Stadium. "And I want to continue my career. I don't think it's over yet."

Certainly not at just 27 years old and less than two years removed from last pitching in the majors. Although the road he's taken since making the Indians' big-league roster has been a bumpy one.

Struggles: Judy struggled in the majors in 2011, posting a 7.07 ERA in 12 games with Cleveland. That September he underwent minor knee surgery to clean up his left meniscus, which stemmed from his high school injury. Two months later the Cincinnati Reds claimed him off waivers.

And in 2012, he put up the worst numbers of his career with a 6.99 ERA in 40 relief appearances with the Reds' Class AAA Louisville club. But Judy puts part of the blame for that on the team for trying him out as a long reliever after being a "one-inning guy" his entire pro career.

A free agent for the first time in his career this past offseason, he received zero interest from big-league clubs. Judy then began looking into the Atlantic League. In particular, he called an old college friend, Kaylee Swanson, now a Revs' corporate partnerships associate, to inquire about York. He also had a connection in Revs' pitching coach John Halama. The two played winter ball together in the Dominican Republic in 2010.

Getting back: Revs' manager Mark Mason said he plans to get Judy, one of five relievers in York's bullpen with major-league experience, back to being a short-relief pitcher. That's not to say Judy doesn't have areas he needs to improve on.

"Josh has a few mechanical things he's gonna have to work on," Mason said. "John (Halama) is working with him on that."

Judy is one of only three players to be drafted out of Indiana Tech -- and the only one to reach the majors. Now he'll begin a journey to become just the fourth pitcher to make it to the big leagues after playing for York.

-- Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com. Check out more Revs' news from spring training at The York Dispatch Rev olution Rumblings blog at www.ydtalk.com/revs.