Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What a ride...

We all know that September is the time for call ups of guys that have a future in the bigs. It also is a time to give what might be the one opportunity to show up in the majors and possibly never been heard from again. I'm not sure where this guy will fit in, but he does have a pretty amazing story.

This spring, when Steve Delabar was coaching high school baseball and working as a substitute teacher in Elizabethtown, Ky., playing Major League ball was the furthest thing from his mind. At 28, he'd never pitched above Class A ball in the Padres' organization before he wound up throwing in an Independent League and fracturing a bone in his elbow that by all rights should have ended a career that really wasn't going anywhere at the time.

So Delabar had surgery on his elbow, with doctors inserting a plate and nine screws, then fed his competitive fever by playing slow-pitch softball while taking classes at the University of Louisville and working as a part-time teacher. Mariner manager Eric Wedge said Steve Delabar wouldn't have a set role in the Mariners' bullpen, but he's eager to see him pitch. Now here was Delabar on Tuesday, putting on a Mariners uniform after being promoted to the Major Leagues following a whirlwind season in which he climbed from Class A for a September call-up. Delabar missed all of last year after doctors wired his elbow back together following two seasons of Independent League action with the Brockton Rox in the Canadian-American Association.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder was coaching at John Hardin High School when he got a tryout with a scout, who recommended the Mariners give him a look. Next thing he knew, Delabar was working his way up through the Minor League system, first at Class A High Desert, then Double-A Jackson and finally Triple-A Tacoma a few weeks ago. "There was a point when I first broke with the High A team, and I'd given up a couple runs in a game and I was the oldest player in the league, and I was thinking, 'What am I really doing here? Am I wasting my time?'" he said. "Then I had a few good outings in a row and I got promoted. I said, I can go with this. I'd never played in Double-A before."

Delabar opened eyes at each level, winding up with a combined 2.25 ERA and concluding things with a 0.69 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 13 innings with the Rainiers. Now he finds himself in the Majors with a Mariners squad that has 13 other rookies on the current 31-man roster.

What's worked this year? "Everything," Delabar said. "Everything has been in place. My velocity is good, and that helped a lot. But just being in the right place at the right time and having the right people see you is a huge thing. Timing is everything." Delabar got word after Monday's Triple-A finale in Tacoma that he was going to the big leagues. The news stunned him so much he could barely speak when he phoned his family.
"I called my wife and couldn't even talk," Delabar said. "I called my dad and I couldn't even put a sentence together. I was just torn up. It's a pretty good feeling." "All the reports are that he has a great arm, his secondary stuff is very good and he's been very consistent," Wedge said. "He's the one who pushed himself up here by the way he pitched down there."

All quotes used from story that appeared on

1 comment:

  1. Cool story! A little page from "The Rookie." Hopefully he gets in a game soon. I'll definitely be watching with interest to see if he pitches in the series against the Yanks next week.