PITTSBURGH — Most people have already been tucked away in bed for a couple hours when 1:30 in the morning rolls around.
It’s a good thing Jared Triolo went to bed late on Tuesday night, however.
Triolo became the latest Pittsburgh Pirates’ prospect to get promoted to the big leagues for Wednesday night’s game against the San Diego Padres at PNC Park.
The Pirates selected Triolo’s contract prior to Wednesday’s game after Ke’Bryan Hayes was placed on the 10-day injured list with lower back inflammation.
The timing worked out well for Triolo and the Pirates. Not only is he a capable replacement in the field for Hayes, but his play has warranted a promotion.
“He’s battled back,” manager Derek Shelton said on Triolo. “He broke his hamate early in the year and he’s battled back from that. Offensively he’s been swinging the bat well over the last couple of weeks. Defensively, number one he’s a really good defender at a lot of positions, which is really important.”
Triolo’s phone rang in the very early hours on Wednesday. On the other end? Triple-A Indianapolis manager Miguel Perez. Perez delivered the good news to the 25-year-old Triolo — he was going to be a big leaguer.
“He gave me a big story last night at about 1 o’clock in the morning,” Triolo said “I kinda knew what was going on, but he gave me a good story. It was cool coming from him, for sure.”
When players receive that kind of news at that hour of the night, it turns into a whirlwind. Triolo said he left Indianapolis at around 8:30 am and drove his truck to Pittsburgh, arriving roughly five hours before first pitch.
After dreaming of the moment as he drove east towards Pittsburgh, his life-long dream finally came true under the lights on Wednesday night.
“I can tell you leading up to the game was probably the longest day of all time,” he said “Seemed like before the game, I was just watching the clock and the clock wasn’t moving. But, during the game, it was great, it just felt like another baseball game.”
After striking out in each of his first two at-bats, Triolo was hit by a pitch and scored a run for the Pirates to help them earn a 7-1 win over the Padres.
In his final at-bat of the game, Triolo lined a single up the middle for the first hit of his major league career.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s awesome, especially because my parents are here,” Triolo said. “It’s the first Pirates’ game they’ve been to, so it was awesome. But yeah, they say the first is the hardest, right? So, it was great.”
It was a strong all-around first game for Triolo, who in addition to what he did at the plate handled every chance in the field that came his way. The sure-handed Triolo even fielded the grounder and fired to first for the final out of the game to seal the win.
Triolo should get plenty of opportunities with the Pirates while Hayes is sidelined with his back injury.
For now, Triolo gets to enjoy checking off several key firsts in his big league career, and he’ll get a chance to figure out what he’s gonna do with that first hit ball.
“It’s something I’ll have to think about a little bit longer, but it’s definitely going home with either me or my parents for sure,” he said.