By Sheldon Ocker
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: Preston Guilmet returned to Triple-A Columbus on Thursday without having given up a hit and posting a 0.00 ERA. Of course, he only pitched to two batters Wednesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Nevertheless, there was something impressive about the way he handled his first batter, Munenori Kawasaki. Guilmet quickly got ahead 1-and-2, but just as quickly was faced with a full count.
What’s likely to happen with a kid in that situation making his big-league debut? Either he walks Kawasaki or throws a fastball down the middle, and the ball ends up in the bleachers.
Instead, Guilmet struck out Kawasaki and retired Jose Reyes on a harmless ground ball to start the next inning. Keep in mind that when Guilmet entered the game, there were two out, two runs home and runners at first and third.
What does this mean for Guilmet’s future with the Tribe? Very little, but it certainly doesn’t hurt his chances to be summoned to the major leagues again.
He didn’t count on being called up the first time last Sunday.
“It was a pretty big surprise, especially not being on the 40-man roster,” he said. “I was locked in and focused on the Clippers’ season, so I was really excited.”
Guilmet was a starter at the University of Arizona and in his first minor-league season. But in 2010, when he moved from Mahoning Valley to Lake County, he suddenly found himself in the bullpen, making 30 appearances and posting a 2.25 ERA.
“They just told me to keep pitching, no matter what role I was in,” Guilmet said. “At the time, I was just excited to get a chance to throw, whether I was starting or in the bulllpen.”
Some things never change for players called up to the majors for the first time.
“The first thing I did was call my parents,” Guilmet said. “My dad answered the phone, but my mom always told me to call her first, so they put me on speaker phone then both could hear me at the same time.
“Then I called my sister to let her know, My family has always been there for me. I called my girlfriend next.”
Because they live 2,200 miles away in Sacramento, Calif., Guilmet’s family couldn’t make it for his debut. Maybe next time.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at email@example.com.