With his parents en route to Louisville to watch him pitch Saturday night, Daniel Wright's day started normal until he walked into the Bat’s dressing room.
Within a matter of minutes his world changed big-time. And a dream came true.
“When I got there the manager told me he wanted to talk to me,” said Wright, who pitched at Arkansas State from 2010-13. “I went into his office and he told me the news. At first I didn’t believe it. But after I had a chance for it to sink in I was pretty exciting.
"First thing I did was call my wife, then my parents.”
His wife Danielle, who he met at A-State, and his parents Paul and Patrice Wright have a change in plans now. They will be in Los Angeles Tuesday when he makes his Major League debut against the Dodgers, one of the more storied franchises in baseball history.
“Right now I’m not nervous,’’ he said. “But I haven’t thought about it. I’m sure things will change quite a bit Tuesday. I pitched in Bakersfield so it will be nice to return to the area.”
Wright, who flew to California with the team on Sunday, is scheduled to start against the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling.
“This all starts in Little League, then you move on the high school and you just hope the make the JV team, then the varsity. Then you hope you are good enough to get recruited to college. I’m so glad coach (Tommy) Raffo decided to give a scholarship to a guy who threw in the 80s out of high school. Then you get to college and you hope you get drafted. Then you do get drafted and you just take it one level at a time.”
Raffo signed Wright out of Bartlett, Tenn. He split time starting and relief during his tenure with the Red Wolves. He finished just outside top 10 in career victories but in 2013 had the fifth besr strikeout season in school history with 96 Ks in 110.1 innings. He finished 6-5 with a 3.18 ERA his senior season.
Wright said his only other offer out of high school was David Lipscomb and he committed to the Red Wolves the day he visited.
“It was the right choice for me,’’ he said. “I’m a proud Arkansas State alum.”
A 10th round-draft choice in 2013, Wright spent that season in the Rookie League. He split 2014 in the two levels of Class A ball. In 2015 he spent the season at AA Pensacola. Back at AA, he dominated in 8 games (2-0, 0.45 ERA) and was called to AAA Louisville.
“The Reds have had a couple of starters go down and I continued to pitch well. Things have been in a bit of a flux, and we had some guys called up,’’ he said. “Just been in the right place and the right organization to get this opportunity.”
The last A-State player to make it the Major Leagues was Matt Whiteside, who was a 25th round pick of the Texas Rangers in 1990. He made his debut with a shutout innings vs. the Oakland A’s on Aug. 5, 1992. He retired in 2005 and played for the Rangers, Phillies, Padres, Braves and Blue Jays.
“I actually got a text from him today congratulating me,’’ said Wright. “He said welcome to the show. I thought that was pretty cool.”
Whiteside wasn’t the only one to send congrats.
“At first it was my family, then some of my teammates at Pensacola found out, and I think it was Jacob Lee or Tighe Dickinson who found out and that started another wave.”