Monday, May 08, 2017

12-Year Wait Is Over For Texas Pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx

It never gets old to write about a long-striving baseball player who finally gets that major league call.

Think Daniel Nava.  Or Stephen Cardullo.  Or James Hoyt.

The newest entry in this it-can't-happen-but-it-finally-does category is right-handed pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who turned 32 ten days ago and now in his 12th professional season.  He was added to the Texas Rangers' major league roster Sunday.

"It's a blessing and a dream come true," Bibens-Dirkx told  It has been a grind.  I've seen a lot of highs and a lot of lows.  I'm extremely happy.  I can't put it into words."
Rangers manager Jeff Banister told the same site: "You see these stories over and over again. It never gets old.  It's real.  It's raw, so emotional...guy who spends that much time in the minors, winter ball and independent leagues, there are not enough superlatives and adjectives to describe how you feel."
The native of Salem, OR was a 16th round draft choice by Seattle in 2006, but after three seasons and not advancing above Class A he found himself with Victoria, BC in the now defunct Golden League. Four organizations later Bibens-Dirkx spent a chunk of last season back in Indy ball, this time with Lancaster, PA of the Atlantic League (3-3, 3.81 for 10 starts), before Texas bought his contract and sent him to Triple-A Round Rock.
"We had him in spring training a number of times (1.50 ERA for six appearances and the same number of innings only daily invitations from the minor league camp) and got a really good look at his stuff and got to know the guy," Banister said. "One of the great assets he showed is his overall instincts and moxie to get outs."
The next step?
"My goal was to get here, but the goal doesn't stop," Bibens-Dirkx explained. "The goal is to be successful and be here as long as I can,  do everything I can to make it a tough decision when it comes time to send people down."
He is the second Independent grad to taste the majors for the first time this season, joining another righty, Ariel Hernandez (Frontier League), who was with Cincinnati for a brief time.

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