PITTSBURGH – Getting called up to the major leagues is always a big moment for a player, whether it’s his first time or 10th.
Every player looks forward to getting that phone call. Unless, of course, the battery in his cell phone is dead.
The Pirates officially selected the contract of outfielder Josh Palacios from Triple-A Indianapolis prior to Tuesday night’s 10-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park. The Pirates made the decision Monday, an off day in the minor leagues, and Palacios spent the day at the Mall of America as Indianapolis was in St. Paul to being a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins’ top farm club on Tuesday.
Like the rest of the world, Palacios had his phone with him. However, he had forgotten to charge it Sunday night and the battery went dead during the shopping excursion.
Finally, Indianapolis manager Miguel Perez was able to reach outfielder Chavez Young, who handed the phone over to Palacios in the middle of a hibachi dinner for the big news.
“I was with Chavez and (infielder) Vinny (Capra) and they texted him, ‘Do you have his number, is he doing alright?’” Palacios recalled with a smile. “He was like ‘yeah, he’s next to me’. Tell him to pick up the phone. Well, the phone was dead. They called him and put me on the phone. I realized I had to charge my phone really quickly.”
Palacios had plenty of people to call about going to the major leagues. However, this isn’t his first time in the big leagues.
The 27-year-old played in 13 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021 and 29 games for the Washington Nationals in 2022.
The Pirates selected Palacios in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in December. However, he did not receive an invitation to major-league spring training and played for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
Because of a logjam of outfielders, Palacios began the season with Double-A Altoona, marking the first time he had been below the Triple-A level since 2019.
Palacios, though, did not pout. He hit .265/.324/.324 in eight games with Altoona and earned a promotion to Indianapolis. With Indy, Palacios batted a sizzling .434/.500/.774 with four home runs and 20 RBIs in 13 games.
That led to Palacios’ promotion to the big leagues Tuesday night. He started in right field and went 0 for 2.
“I think like we’ve talked about, if we have the opportunity and guys are playing well and we feel it’s going to help us, we’re going to add them to the roster,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “He’s been that way, so we added him.”
Palacios couldn’t help but laugh about the circumstances surrounding his first call to the big leagues from the Pirates.
“I think you are always shocked when you finally get that call,” Palacios said. “You never quite know what is going to happen in The Show, there is a lot going on. I was pretty happy. My phone was dead when they were trying to call me. I missed a couple of phone calls and they had to call my boy that was next to me. We were making jokes like ‘Hey, imagine they are calling me up right now and my phone is dead’. It actually happened to be true.”
Palacios credited the Pirates’ minor-league hitting coaches for helping him get back to the major leagues. However, another factor is Palacios started wearing contact lenses in recent weeks after originally being reticent about the idea.
“I was supposed to wear them for a little while and I didn’t wear them,” Palacios said. “They were a little uncomfortable and I finally made the sacrifice to wear them. Every little bit helps. I started wearing contacts and seeing the ball better. I was able to make some better decisions and started doing it a little better.”
Now that he is back in the big leagues, Palacios has two non-baseball challenges.
One is to remember to keep his contacts in. The other is to keep his phone charged.