Major League Debut
Ray Sadler was called up to make his major league debut yesterday in Arizona. The 25 year-old from Clifton, Texas was 0-3 at the plate but contributed to a Pirates win by making a fine running grab in left field in the first inning on a slicing fly ball toward the line on a ball hit by Luis Gonzalez. Now, even though the final score in the ballgame was 16-2, that play was significant because, at the time, the Pirates led 1-0 and the Diamondbacks had a runner at first base with one out. If Sadler (pictured) doesn’t get an outstanding jump on the ball and is unable to make the catch, it likely scores the tying run and Gonzalez is standing at second.
Kip Wells has had first-inning troubles throughout his career. Going into the game on Sunday, the opposition was hitting .321 against him and had scored seven runs in the first frame over his first six starts. We’ll never know, of course, what might have happened to Wells and the Pirates if the Gonzalez fly ball had not been caught, but there is not question that the catch by the rookie left-fielder kept the Diamondbacks from scoring a first inning run.
I don’t know a lot about Ray Sadler, other than what his bio tells us and from what his former batting coach at Altoona, John Wehner says about him. Wehner is now one of our broadcast partners and "Rock" raves about Ray’s work ethic and determination. You could see that side of him in his debut against Arizona as he busted it down the line on his three ground balls.
Sadler’s name might be familiar. His cousin, Donnie was a big league infielder for a few years with the Red Sox, Rangers, Reds and Royals. In a bit of irony, his final major league at bat came last year as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cousin Ray will never forget his FIRST at-bat in the big leagues came against those same D-Backs.