In ten years in professional baseball he’s played with 6 different AAA teams, including stints with the Bulls in 2007 and, briefly, 2008. I think I mentioned some time ago how pleased I was to see him on our roster because I thought our young pitchers could use an experienced hand calling the game (and, for that matter, our young catchers could learn something from him). But the Rays’ rather fragile catcher Shawn Riggans gave Hernandez yet another chance at the big leagues. Michel was called up for last year’s run into the World Series because of Riggan's aches and pains. The same thing happened in the middle of this April, for the same reason.
Then came last night, his fourth game since being called up. First at-bat, 3rd inning, strikes out. Second at-bat, 4th inning, first pitch, home run (his first major league home run), RBI. Third at-bat, 5th inning, single and RBI. Fourth at-bat, 7th inning, single. Fifth at-bat, 8th inning, double, RBI. What a night!
Here comes the love:
- First, You can watch a video of his home run here.
- Marc Topkin in the St. Petersburg Times quotes Rays manager Joe Maddon, “He had a good month tonight.”
- Joey Johnston in the Tampa Tribune backgrounds Michel’s escape from Cuba and adds a bit more locker room color.
- Tommy Rancel on DRaysBay compares him to the regular Rays catcher Dioner Navorro and Michel comes out looking very good.
By the way, buried in the Marc Topkin piece is the note that rehabbing Rays right-handed reliever Jason Insringhousen didn’t pitch last night because of a mild abdominal strain he suffered while playing catch (how do you do that?).