Diamondbacks' Gillespie Gets Major Challenge
PHOENIX—Short on sleep but wired from the promotion, Diamondbacks outfielder Cole Gillespie reported for his first major league game in time to face 2005 National League Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter, he of the buckling breaking ball. Call Gillespie a quick study.
Gillespie lined a double to the left field corner on the fourth pitch of his first career at-bat in late April, a scene that was to become commonplace in his first fortnight in the big leagues.
Gillespie, acquired from the Brewers for infielder Felipe Lopez last July and promoted after Conor Jackson was placed on the disabled list, had seven hits—five doubles—in his first 23 major league at-bats while making four starts in left field and one in center field to give Chris Young a day off.
"Unbelievable. It's what you dream of as a little kid. For it to come true, I've just been waiting for this day to happen. I am just going to have fun with it and enjoy it," said Gillespie, who was given a mock grilling before being told of the recall by Triple-A Reno manager Brett Butler.
Gillespie, 25, made a strong impression in his initial spring training with the Diamondbacks and was a natural callup after Jackson's injury. He hit .283/.411/.457 in 46 at-bats with Reno, hitting a home run in his first game and throwing out a runner attempting to score the next day.
"Cole is a very versatile player, probably the best fundamentally sound outfielder that we have, certainly at the upper levels," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "We saw some of that in spring training. He was very impressive. He hit the ball pretty well. He can run and he can really play defense."
Gillespie, a third-round pick of the Brewers in 2006, has a championship on his resume after being a co-captain on Oregon State's College World Series title team in 2006, when he was the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year. He was a midseason all-star at high Class A Brevard County in 2007 and Double-A Huntsville in 2008, when he hit .281/.386/.472.
• Righthander Josh Collmenter, a 15th-round pick in 2007, was named the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the week for the week ending May 2 after throwing seven shutout innings against Tacoma in his Triple-A debut in late April.
• The Diamondbacks obtained Triple-A righthander Carlos Rosa from the Royals for high Class A Visalia shortstop Rey Navarro. Rosa, 25, has a strong arm but lackluster secondary pitches that may leave him best suited for middle relief.