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
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitR. Ray (1-3)000
MinnesotaT. Milone (0-1)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Houston - B. Peacock 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
San Francisco - T. Hudson 6:05 PM
Washington - D. Fister
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
Atlanta - M. Minor 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:10 PM
Boston - J. Kelly
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Detroit - R. Ray 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Miami - H. Alvarez 7:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
San Diego - O. Despaigne 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
LA Angels - H. Santiago 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
NY Mets - J. Niese 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Carolina 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 8:00 PM
FC Dallas
Montreal 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Phoenix
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