The recovery at Bucknell went so well that Daley had a strong junior year out of the bullpen, gaining attention that led to summer league play in Illinois and some professional offers. Instead, he came back for a standout senior year that featured a no-hitter, a 6-2 record and 2.82 ERA, all-star honors and a second straight Patriot League championship.
Daley made his way to the National League five years later, at 26. Now, at 31, he is trying to prove he eventually will be ready to help the Yankees remain in contention in the American League.
"For me, at this point, as long as I stay healthy, I have a lot of years ahead of me," Daley said. "I know I'm not a spring chicken, but I feel like my body's in great shape and my shoulder feels good."
The Yankees have already shown they believe in Daley's capabilities.
Daley split 2009, 2010 and 2011 between the Colorado Rockies and their Class AAA farm team in Colorado Springs. Despite playing his home games in a hitter's park, Daley put up respectable numbers, going 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA in 92 National League games. He made it to Colorado the first time by dominating AAA hitters in 2009, striking out 19 while posting an 0.90 ERA in 10 innings.
The torn labrum surgery was performed in August of 2011, but the Yankees still gambled on a one-year contract for Daley for 2012.
"It definitely meant a lot to me," said Daley, who has returned to Lewisburg for camp appearances and still follows the progress of Bucknell's program. "They knew at the time that last year could have been a lost year, but they still wanted to make that investment in me and work with me."
Daley's one-year contract with the Yankees ended, but he resigned with the organization.