Indiana native pitches 1st Major League game

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The weekend of a lifetime began with a prank. It ended with a glow that may never fade.

When Jarrett Grube was summoned out of the Los Angeles Angels bullpen to pitch two-thirds of an inning against Oakland on Saturday night, the point was not the modest part he played in an 11-3 loss. Nor was it the solo home run he surrendered before retiring the side.

The point was, when Grube got the call after an extra-inning game with Triple-A Salt Lake late Friday, it was the first Major League call-up in 11 professional seasons for the 32-year-old DeKalb graduate. And even if, by Monday, he was on his way back to Triple-A, rejoining the Salt Lake Bees in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the glow remained.

“When they called me in (Friday night), they tried to kind of twist it on me,” Grube, who was charting pitches that night, told The Journal Gazette. “They acted like I messed the chart up. I was about to walk out of the manager’s office, and then the pitching coach kind of put his arm up and they closed the door, and I thought, ‘OK, what’s going on?’

“So then they told me, and I basically went into shock from there. I was in shock. It was a pretty special moment for all of us.”

And, not very much later, for his family.

Although it was 3 in the morning in Indiana, Grube first called his wife, who had her phone on vibrate and didn’t wake up. Then he called his parents, and his mom picked up.

“What’s wrong?” she said.

“Nothing’s wrong,” Grube replied. “Where’s Dad?”

“Well, it’s 3 in the morning, honey. He’s asleep,” Mom replied.

“You might want to wake him up for this,” Grube said.

This was, after all, the pinnacle moment for a young man who was drafted in the 10th round in 2004 by the Colorado Rockies and since had played at every level but the majors for first the Rockies and then the Mariners and finally the Angels. In 2010, he even wound up pitching in the independent Atlantic League for a time after injuring his elbow.

Four years later, on a Saturday night in Oakland, California, he was taking the hill in front of a sellout crowd celebrating the A’s’ back-to-back American League West titles.

“With the magnitude of that game . I knew my role up there was kind of an emergency long (reliever),” Grube said. “They just needed some length, some coverage.

“So obviously when there was one out in the eighth, I wasn’t thinking I was going to pitch.”

Then, suddenly, there he was, facing the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in the A’s lineup, standing in against Yoenis Cespedes, who took him deep. It was the only hit Grube gave up in his short stint.

“To get me in there, and for me to face the three, four, five hitters, it was pretty awesome,” Grube said. “Everything is happening so fast. You try to slow it down, but it’s something that’s absolutely indescribable. I mean, you’re facing a top-five guy in the MVP voting (Cespedes) and an All-Star in his own right. . Lot of emotions in that 40-hour period.

“I’m so thrilled and happy. It’s a dream come true, it really is.”

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