Pressly's football injury paved way to possible baseball career with Twins

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 16, 2013 - 8:01 AM

Tackle that ended Ryan Pressly’s high school football career might have led him to a job in the Twins bullpen.

hide

Something exciting happened for Twins pitcher Ryan Pressly after Boston and sent him to the bullpen last season.

Photo: File photo by JERRY HOLT • jerry.holt@startribune.com ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– As he anticipated the pass, grabbed the interception and headed for the end zone, Ryan Pressly was a football player. More like football royalty, given his all-Texas status on a defending state champion. But when the wide receiver he had victimized tackled him before he could score — Pressly became a one-sport athlete. A baseball player.

His life isn’t quite so “Friday Night Lights” anymore. But there’s a strong chance it could be “Major League.”

“He’s a pretty impressive young man,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the 24-year-old righthanded reliever the Twins selected in the Rule 5 draft in December. “He’s right in the middle of it. If he was in a horse race, he’s in the backstretch and he’s doing fine.”

Pressly wasn’t so fine after that tackle in 2006, a play that shredded the ACL in his left knee and ended his football career a month and a half early. Damaging the ligament was far more stressful than losing football, Pressly said.

As a 155-pound defensive back as a high-school senior, he had no illusions about his future trying to make tackles. But knee surgery? That might jeopardize baseball.

“I was a lot better baseball player,” said Pressly, wearing a Dallas Cowboys cap. “I couldn’t hit anymore with the knee, but I could still pitch.”

A shocking development

He had to change schools, just five months before graduation, to do it though. American Heritage Academy was considering dropping baseball, “so I was like, ‘OK, talk to you later.’ I still wanted to play,” said Pressly, who as a junior shortstop at the academy in suburban Dallas led his conference in 23 offensive categories.

“I transferred to a big school [Marcus High] in one of the hardest districts for baseball in Texas. It was fun to play at that level,” even with his left knee wrapped in a tight brace, and Pressly remembers having a surprisingly strong season.

Still, he was shocked to receive a phone call on the day of the 2007 Major League amateur draft, telling him the Red Sox had selected him in the 11th round.

He didn’t consider himself much of a pitcher — “I just threw really hard” — and had planned to walk on at Texas Tech or a nearby junior college.

He wasn’t going to pass up this chance. Pressly signed with Boston and embarked on a five-year odyssey through the Red Sox farm system, never distinguishing himself as a starting pitcher.

He allowed roughly a hit an inning and walked far too many hitters for the Red Sox to move him beyond Class A.

Boston finally gave up last summer and sent Pressly to the bullpen, where something exciting happened.

“I could tell the ball was coming out a whole lot harder than it was as a starter,” Pressly said. “Going an inning at a time, I was cutting it loose, and it really spiked. A couple of times I got to 98 [miles per hour], but mostly 93-96.”

Twins took notice

Intrigued, Boston sent him to Class AA Portland for the season’s final month, and Pressly’s ERA plummeted. He was invited to the Arizona Fall League, and he blew hitters away, striking out 18 hitters in 14 innings with just one walk.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Arizona «0000500106140
Minnesota001000100270
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:J.Collmenter(11-8) L:R.Nolasco(5-12)
HR: ARI- M.Trumbo (12) MIN- None

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore - LP: W. Chen 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 5
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 2 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 14
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Bassitt 2 FINAL
Detroit - LP: K. Lobstein 0
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 1 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 3 FINAL
Texas - WP: D. Holland 4
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: R. Nolasco 2
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 4 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Samardzija 8
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 5 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: K. Correia 2
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 1
Chicago 27 FINAL
NY Jets 19
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 9/22/14 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
Washington 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Dallas 4
Anaheim 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Colorado 0 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Arizona 5
Arizona 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close