There are always stories of guys whose promotion to the big leagues is so inevitable, their minor-league managers and teammates have time to plan elaborate ways to break the news.
Then there are the guys like Bradin Hagens, whose Wednesday night call-up comes unexpectedly due to an instant need.
There was less fanfare for the former Merced College and Pitman High School ace as he landed with his Triple-A Reno Aces teammates in Round Rock, Texas. Hagenswas told he’d be hopping right back on a flight to Miami, where the Arizona Diamondbacks opened a four-game series with the Marlins on Thursday night.
“It was definitely a surprise,” said Hagens, who was born in Modesto. “I always had hope that I might get a call-up in September, but I’m pretty excited to get the chance now.
“They didn’t say much, just that Arizona was picking up my contract and I needed to get back on a plane. I got into Miami at about 4 a.m. and was able to get a little sleep.”
Hagens made his debut on Thursday night. He threw a scoreless ninth inning, but he gave up a walkoff RBI double to Miguel Ozuna in the 10th inning to take the loss in a 5-4 Miami win.
Hagens’ promotion was pre-empted by Arizona’s need for fresh bullpen arms. The Diamondbacks played 21 innings in a doubleheader with the Indians on Wednesday, with the bullpen eating 9 2/3 innings. Hagens spoke with Arizona manager Kirk Gibson upon his arrival and was told the club wants to use him as a long reliever.
One thing that should help ease his transition to the majors is Hagens’ familiarity with his new teammates. Arizona has had 17 rookies make MLB debuts this season, and Hagens has played with many of them.
The right-hander is a combined 8-7 this season, pitching mainly as a starter in Double- and Triple-A. He has a 4.12 ERA and has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 16 of his 19 starts.
The 25-year-old has a career minor-league record of 34-33 with a 4.14 ERA over six seasons.
“I’m still a little dazed by everything,” Hagens said. “It’s pretty cool here. I’m just trying to stay calm and take it all in before we head out to the ballpark.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of music and things like that. Just trying to keep myself occupied until it’s time to go.”
Hagens said the volume of well-wishing phone calls and texts started to increase on Thursday as news of his promotion circulated.
“Coach (Chris) Pedretti texted me this morning, but I really haven’t talked to too many people,” Hagens said before the game. “I called my dad right away. I thought my mom would be with him, but she’s traveling right now, so I called her, too. It’s just been kind of a crazy 24 hours.”