ARLINGTON, Texas – After beginning his normal pregame routine Saturday in Indianapolis, Alex Presley noticed his phone said he had missed a call. Then he noticed it was from Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington.
“I figured I needed to call him back,” Presley deadpanned a day later and a time zone away.
When he did, he learned that he was no longer a Pirate, and no longer at Class AAA for that matter, but one of two players the Twins had acquired for Justin Morneau. He caught a plane Sunday morning, took a cab to Rangers Ballpark and began getting used to his new life. And a new opportunity.
“I’ve been called up four times this year, but this one is a little different,” the 28-year-old Louisiana native said. “This is a chance to show a new team that I deserve to be at the big-league level.”
There’s no doubt about him at a level below; Presley has batted .309, with a .377 on-base percentage and a .460 slugging percentage over four Class AAA seasons. But in several stints with Pittsburgh, he was only a .261 hitter.
“Consistent at-bats are a big deal. In Triple-A, you play every day,” the former eighth-round draft pick said. “At the big-league level, that’s been on and off a little bit.”
No mystery about that. Presley’s natural position is center field, where the Pirates already have an All-Star in Andrew McCutchen.
“We’re excited. He actually ate up our Triple-A team in a series recently [going 7-for-14 against Rochester], and our guys duly noted that,” Gardenhire said of Presley. “We brought him over [because] we needed a leadoff guy. … He’s going to get a chance.”
He’s already got an identity — the guy the Twins got for Morneau. And how do they compare?
“I’m a speed player — get on base, bunt every now and then, try to steal. Run around the outfield and run some stuff down,” Presley said. “The opposite of Morneau. He’s a power guy; I can’t really compare.”
So he’s no Morneau. And you know who else he isn’t?
“I had [No.] 7 in Pittsburgh,” said Presley, wearing Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s No. 1 on his back. “I know I’m not getting that here.”
What of Welker?
Presley offered this scouting report on Duke Welker, his spring-training roommate who is reportedly the second player headed to the Twins: “He’s a big righthander, throws hard. A good slider, and likes to use a lot. He’s a two-pitch guy. He runs it up there 96, 97 [mph].”
However, Twins General Manager Terry Ryan disputed reports in Pittsburgh that a decision on the second player has been made.
“I do not know who the player [to be named] is. So I don’t know how anybody else does,” Ryan said, adding that the teams agreed upon a list of potential players, with the Pirates having the right to choose one to send to the Twins.
|Chicago Cubs - WP: B. Parker||6||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover||4|
|Philadelphia - WP: D. Buchanan||9||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza||1|
|Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir||6||FINAL|
|San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson||1|
|Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario||3||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: A. Miller||4|
|Washington - LP: G. Gonzalez||3||FINAL|
|Baltimore - WP: W. Chen||4|
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Thornton||3||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco||9|
|Atlanta - WP: A. Harang||3||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: B. Colon||1|
|Pittsburgh - WP: E. Volquez||9||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: S. Miller||1|
|LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago||15||FINAL|
|Texas - LP: C. Lewis||6|
|Detroit - WP: D. Smyly||16||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie||4|
|San Diego||1||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Minnesota||2||Top 5th Inning|
|Winnipeg||7/11/14 6:00 PM|
|Ottawa||7/11/14 9:00 PM|
|Calgary||7/12/14 5:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||7/12/14 8:30 PM|
|Edmonton||7/17/14 7:30 PM|
|Toronto||7/18/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||7/18/14 9:00 PM|
|Montreal||7/19/14 6:00 PM|
Poll: What are you most looking forward to during All-Star festivities?