Caleb Thielbar was pitching for the independent league St. Paul Saints in 2011 and now he’s headed to the majors.
Minnesota signed Thielbar after he impressed with the Saints and he’s steadily climbed through the Twins’ farm system, putting together a very impressive stretch at Triple-A this year in which he’s allowed zero earned runs and a .105 opponents’ batting average in 11.1 innings since late April. Overall this season Thielbar has a 3.76 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 26.1 innings and he’ll get a look as the third left-hander in the Twins’ bullpen.
He was originally the Brewers’ 18th-round pick in 2009, but got released before advancing beyond Single-A and the Minnesota native had to settle for an independent league gig to keep pitching. Helluva story and based on his numbers in the minors Thielbar might actually stick around for a while.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.