Career Minor Leaguer Padilla gets call
Nationals outfielder promoted after 11-plus seasons
WASHINGTON -- After 11-plus seasons in the Minor Leagues and playing for four organizations, Nationals outfielder Jorge Padilla was promoted to the big leagues on Wednesday.
Padilla will be a backup outfielder, replacing Austin Kearns, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a right thumb injury. Padilla will enter the game as a defensive replacement, pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.
Padilla earned the promotion after hitting .367 with four home runs and 21 RBIs for Triple-A Syracuse. The right-handed hitter said that hitting the ball the other way is the reason he has a high batting average.
"I was trying to be in the big leagues for a long time. Thank God I got the call. It was really emotional," an excited Padilla said. "[In the Minor Leagues], I was not trying to do too much. I was trying to get on base. I was pretty comfortable at the plate. I wasn't going to give up. I know I can play."
Interim manager Jim Riggleman said he loves to see a player such Padilla reach the big leagues. Riggleman had no idea that Padilla was 29 years old.
"He has been down there a long time," Riggleman said. "He looks younger. I thought this was a young guy who was invited [to Major League camp]. I figured that maybe he is 23, 24 years old. But he is in great shape. It's a credit to him. He has kept plugging away for all these years and getting a shot to the big leagues. That's what it's all about for guys who were down there for a long time and they want to put that big league uniform on."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.