Aaron Palensky already had summer plans. Then the New York Yankees came calling.
The outfielder and Papillion-La Vista South grad was gearing up for some baseball with the Hastings Sodbusters in the Expedition League. Then he would head back to Lincoln to get ready for a second junior year with the Huskers.
But five Major League Baseball organizations reached out to him Sunday, the first day allowed following the shortened draft last week. A certain storied franchise with 27 World Series titles stood out.
On Thursday morning at home in Papillion, Palensky signed with New York as an undrafted free agent.
“They showed some seriously high interest and I felt like they have a lot to offer in terms of player development,” Palensky told The World-Herald. “I really felt like I could elevate my game there and felt it was the best route I could take to give myself a chance to make it to the big leagues.”
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Palensky was one of Nebraska’s most reliable hitters the past two seasons after a freshman year at Southeast Community College and could have returned as the team’s clear-cut starting right fielder again in 2021. He was a second-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2019, when he led the team in batting average (.320), hits (71), runs scored (43) and home runs (seven). He started all 56 games that spring and began all 15 this year while off to a 16-for-53 (.302) start. His four homers tied for the team high.
Nebraska football coach Scott Frost and men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg will donate a portion of their salaries for the upcoming year back to the Nebraska athletic department’s general operating fund to aid during the coronavirus pandemic, NU announced Thursday.
The amount of the pay cut is not yet known, pending the finalization of Nebraska’s athletic department budget for 2020-21. The fiscal year resets July 1.
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said Frost and Hoiberg volunteered to reduce their own salaries. NU did not request or mandate they do so.
Frost and Hoiberg join coaches around major college athletics who are taking pay cuts.