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.
|LA Angels - J. Weaver||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - C. Tillman|
|Seattle - H. Iwakuma||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - T. Bauer|
|Chicago WSox - J. Quintana||6:08 PM|
|Detroit - A. Sanchez|
|Washington - S. Strasburg||6:10 PM|
|Miami - H. Alvarez|
|Philadelphia - C. Hamels||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - D. Gee|
|Milwaukee - M. Garza||6:10 PM|
|Tampa Bay - A. Cobb|
|Toronto - M. Stroman||6:10 PM|
|Boston - R. De La Rosa|
|Arizona - T. Cahill||6:10 PM|
|Cincinnati - M. Leake|
|Colorado - J. De La Rosa||7:05 PM|
|Chicago Cubs - E. Jackson|
|NY Yankees - B. McCarthy||7:05 PM|
|Texas - N. Martinez|
|Minnesota - K. Gibson||7:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Shields|
|Oakland - J. Samardzija||7:10 PM|
|Houston - S. Feldman|
|Atlanta - A. Harang||9:10 PM|
|Los Angeles - J. Beckett|
|St. Louis - L. Lynn||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - T. Ross|
|Pittsburgh - F. Liriano||9:15 PM|
|San Francisco - T. Hudson|
|NY Giants||8/3/14 7:00 PM|
|Winnipeg||7/31/14 6:00 PM|
|Toronto||8/1/14 6:00 PM|
|Brt Columbia||8/1/14 9:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||8/2/14 6:00 PM|
|Los Angeles||9:00 PM|