Although it was difficult at times, Wes Timmons kept his head down, mouth shut and went about his business for the Rockhounds.
The only good thing about Timmons' story is that it has ended in a good place.
"I was probably the oldest guy in that league," said Timmons.
"I was told it was a numbers thing. The position I'm in – you take the assignment, go down there and play every day like you would at any level. I'm still a competitor. Just because you get sent down, it doesn't mean it's time to give up or not play hard."
That type of mindset defines Timmons. But it took a little more convincing on the home front.
"I've been married for nine years and have two little girls," Timmons said. "When you try to explain to your wife, family and friends back home of why you're away for six or seven months at a time, it's because you want to get to a spot where you can financially support your family.
"When you make that phone call and say, ‘I'm going back to Double-A', who's not going to question that? Why are you still playing? What are you doing? That did come up. But then again, I signed over here and made a commitment. I signed a year-long contract and had no other option but to accept that assignment."
In his first trip to Double-A in six seasons, Timmons went to work on Texas League pitching. He batted .365 with eight homers and 28 RBIs in 39 games at Midland. Timmons posted a slugging percentage of .500 and 902 OPS.
He may have had the urge to gloat about feasting on opposing pitchers 10 years his junior, but that's not the case.
"A lot of the guys complain about the travel in the PCL, but those 13-hour bus rides in the Texas League were nothing to joke about," he said. "The heat's tough. The bus rides aren't fun. It was a humbling experience."
Luckily for Timmons, his Texas League adventures ended on August 22nd when he was called up to Triple-A just in time to relish a division-clinching experience.
"When I was called back up I didn't know my role," Timmons said. "Bushy (manager Darren Bush) just said that he was happy to have me here and was going to be a part of this team from here on out. With that said, you just go out there and play every day."
And he has done that very well, becoming an everyday second baseman in the River Cats lineup. In 56 regular season games for the River Cats this season, Timmons hit .321 with a .432 OBP and an 874 OPS. After his return to Sacramento, the West Virginia native batted .362 with three homers in 15 games.
"I got here the day we actually clinched with a few weeks still left in the season," Timmons said.
"It was something phenomenal. I look at our lineup and who we have on our starting staff and bullpen and asked Bushy if this was the greatest team he's ever managed? It was by far the best team I've played on in nine or 10 years in baseball. He kind of downplayed it, but I would have expected this team to clinch that early."
With his team making its annual trip to the postseason, Timmons went 7-for-20 with five runs and five RBIs in a playoff series victory over Reno. He and another mid-season call-up from Midland, Jermaine Mitchell, are the table setters atop the Sacramento lineup.
Although he arrived back in town just last month, Timmons has emerged as the team's emotional leader and spark-plug in the dugout. His passionate clubhouse speech last week helped the River Cats rally from a 2-0 hole in their PCL playoff opener against Reno to win three consecutive games and advance to the championship series.
"It's minor league baseball at its finest," Timmons said. "When you're at this level, you've got 25 different guys in the clubhouse for 25 different reasons. The idea is to get everybody to fight for one cause. In reality, it's to win.
"You're one step from the big leagues and everyone in there knows it, so some teams are better than others with the idea of being a team here. We're fortunate to have 25 guys in there that have bought into it."