The Home Town Kid: 27th rounder, RHP Aaron Trolia

The Trolia household experienced a full range of emotions early last week, when RHP Aaron Trolia went from going undrafted on day one of the MLB draft to being chosen by his hometown Seattle Mariners on day two. InsidethePark's Joe Kaiser talked to the 23-year-old at his hotel in Everett on Tuesday, just days before the Aqua Sox season opener, to learn more about the emotions of last week.

The difference between last Monday and last Tuesday was like night and day for Aaron Trolia.

Trolia, a right-handed pitcher that starred at Washington State University this past season after earlier stints at Clemson University and Edmonds Community College, was prepared to hear his name called on the first day of last week's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

When that didn't happen on Monday, and every team made their day one selections without choosing the 23-year-old, Trolia was overwhelmed with disappointment.

"From what I heard from different scouts, I was anticipating going on the first day," said Trolia. "I was kind of sad not going first day,"

Then, in the 27th round on Tuesday, day two of the draft, he got the phone call he'd been waiting for. On the other end of the line was a representative for the Seattle Mariners, a team he grew up rooting for while starring at Curtis High in Tacoma, just 40 miles south of Safeco Field.

"That was definitely a big bonus," said Trolia of being drafted by his favorite major league club.

From that point on, the news continued to get better for the right-hander, and the disappointment of Monday quickly began to fade. After coming to terms with the Mariners, he was told he'd be reporting straight to Everett of the Northwest League. Everett, a port city 30 miles north of Seattle, is still practically home for Trolia, and well within driving distance for his friends and family.

"They told me I was pretty much going to come (to Everett)," said Trolia, who said he went to several games at Everett Memorial Stadium while in high school. "I was supposed to go to Arizona for a few days, but they decided to scratch that and send me here."

What did that news mean to Trolia's family? It meant a lot. Namely, a summer destined for 70-mile drives up Interstate-5 to watch their son play.

"My dad kept telling me to quit pulling his leg," said Trolia. "Everyone was really excited."

As excited as they are, the young pitcher is even moreso. Just weeks removed from his days with the Cougars – he went 6-5 with a 4.25 ERA at WSU this season – Trolia finds himself in the beginning stages of realizing his life-long dream of playing professional baseball.

For now, he's set up in an Everett hotel. By Wednesday, he plans to move in with his host family, which is where he'll be throughout the season barring a promotion or demotion. By Friday, the lights will be on and the Aqua Sox's season will be underway. Quite a whirlwind of events, indeed.

Trolia says it's understood that the Aqua Sox already have their starting rotation set, a group consisting of guys who enter the 2004 season with previous experience in the Arizona Rookie League.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to come out of the bullpen," said Trolia, who has a running-fastball that tails in on right-handers and a changeup he considers his best pitch. "It doesn't matter to me. I just want to pitch."

With the draft now behind him, Trolia is just anxious to get the season underway.

"I can't wait," he said.


Kyle Yarbrough contributed to this report.

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