McCulley A Bizarre Find

Giants sign intern to pitch

SAN FRANCISCO—Any time a college player's professional baseball career involves the phrase "nondrafted free agent," it involves the longest of odds. But what about nondrafted summer intern?

That's the incredible, improbable story of Reese McCulley. The 22-year-old wanted to start a career in professional baseball, so he took a position as a summer intern with Salem-Keizer, the Giants' short-season affiliate in the Northwest League. He didn't mind starting at the bottom.

After a few days, McCulley started inching up—10 inches to the top of a pitcher's mound, to be exact.

A day before Salem-Keizer played its season opener, the team held an exhibition with a local American Legion club and a collection of local college players. McCulley, a former righthander for Linfield College in nearby McMinnville, Ore., was asked to fill out the roster.

His relief outing impressed Salem-Keizer pitching coach Brian Cooper, and after a few more side sessions with the Volcanoes, the Giants signed McCulley to a professional contract. McCulley, 22, received a $1,000 bonus and a ticket to extended minor league camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he went for instruction and a physical.

"It's a dream come true, it really is," McCulley told the Salem Statesman-Journal. "It's awesome to just have the opportunity."

McCulley played for former Yankees World Series MVP Scott Brosius at Linfield, where his teams reached two NCAA Division III finals. McCulley had a large part in that run, throwing a four-hit shutout on May 21 to eliminate defending West Regional champion Chapman.

A Salem native, McCulley hadn't given up on his playing dreams while making copies and performing small tasks during his internship. He attended a few tryouts in the Northwest but wasn't signed.
Now he's moving up in the world.


• Double-A Richmond center fielder Darren Ford surrendered to police in Vineland, N.J., on charges that included theft and making a false police report. Ford will continue to play for Richmond while his legal issues are pending.

• A supplemental first-round pick in 2007, infielder Charlie Culberson is starting to reach his potential. Culberson, 21, was batting .329/.373/.544 for high Class A San Jose.