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‘I Feel Honored,’ Boos Aimed at Rowdy Tellez Shift to Curtain Call

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Rowdy Tellez, Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH — The 2024 season has been one big struggle for Rowdy Tellez and Pittsburgh Pirates’ fans haven’t let him forget it.

Over the last several weeks, every time Tellez stepped into the batter’s box, boos rained down from the Pirates’ faithful at PNC Park.

That was again the case on Saturday when the Pirates took on the Minnesota Twins in Pittsburgh for the second game of a weekend series.

Jeers greeted Tellez when his name was announced over the speakers at the ballpark for his first at-bat of the game. Jeers followed after Tellez bounced into a double play.

Boos greeted Tellez for his second at-bat which came in the fourth inning. Again, boos followed after Tellez’s inning-ending strikeout.

For a third time, Pirates’ fans again showed their displeasure with Tellez as he stepped to the plate again in the seventh, only this time, an unfamiliar reaction followed.

Tellez belted a solo home run to straightaway center field off of Twins starter Simeon Woods-Richardson to break a scoreless tie. Tellez’s solo shot proved to be the game-winning run in the Pirates’ 4-0 win over Minnesota.

Tellez received a standing ovation as he rounded the bases and the applause went on so long that Tellez received a curtain call and tipped his cap from the dugout steps to those in attendance.

“I feel honored,” Tellez said. “It’s kind of emotional to feel that. It’s been a lot of downs, not so many ups for me to start this year so just trying to be the best teammate I can, day in day out. Young guys have questions, anybody needs help, anybody needs anything, trying to be there every time.

“So it was, I think emotional is a good word to hear my name chanted and to feel like kind of bring pride to these people and the Pirate nation.”

Tellez stepped up to the plate once more in the bottom of the eighth inning. He was greeted warmly for the first time since much, much earlier in the season.

With two on and two outs and the Pirates clinging to a 1-0 lead, Tellez plated a pair of runners with an opposite-field single to give David Bednar and the Bucs plenty of breathing room.

“To come up again and get the big hit to extend the lead in the eighth was huge for us to get insurance runs,” manager Derek Shelton said. “It was outstanding and I give our fans a ton of credit because I know he was feeling it.”

Tellez’s struggles this season have not been do to a lack of effort. Coaches and teammates have time and time again alluded to Tellez’s early work in the cages and desire to try and get better.

His hard work paid off and has been paying off in recent games. Since the start of June, Tellez has seven hits in 14 at-bats. Two of those hits have been doubles in addition to his home run on Saturday. He’s also driven in seven runs.

His recent success began against the Toronto Blue Jays, one of his former teams.

“Putting together good games. Multi-hit games,” he said. “Hitting the ball hard more than once, I think has really brought something to it. But just kind of funny that it lines up with going somewhere where I used to play so I don’t want to pinpoint that as something.”

Shelton believes that Saturday’s performance could be the jolt Tellez has been searching for to break out of his slump, and he gives credit to the nearly 30,000 in attendance at PNC Park on Saturday.

“If that’s one of those turning points that we give credit to our fans on, I’m all in on that. Sometimes just a little bit of a breather – we talk about when guys get sent down but a little bit of a breather of knowing when I come to plate like, ‘They’re behind me.’ And continuing it after the game I thought was awesome.”

Early in the season, Tellez came to the defense of teammate David Bednar when fans in attendance booed the Pirates’ closer after a blown save.

“We don’t do that here,” Tellez said after the game.

If Saturday’s game was truly a turning point for Tellez this year, maybe they won’t anymore.

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Fred Kruse

None good game a month doesn’t mean you start the rest of the games there. He is still a bum IMO.

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