The Amazing Aussie

Arizona Diamondbacks fans everywhere cringed and screamed when right fielder Justin Upton stopped between first and second base last night and dropped in excruciating pain. In a year that has already seen injuries to Brandon Webb, Conor Jackson, Eric Byrnes, Tom Gordon, and countless others we watched as the training staff worked on Upton and finally helped him off the field.

The Diamondbacks had to soon be running out of players at the minor league level that could adequately fill in for the major league team. The team had already brought up Gerardo Parra and Alex Romero to man the outfield and now they would need to dip into their farm system again to find someone who could take the place of Justin Upton.

Although Upton is only 21 years old he has already established himself as an important member of the Diamondbacks. Coming off a trip to his first All-Star game, Upton had once again began to heat up and now has his batting average over .300 to go along with 20 home runs and 66 RBIs. That type of production is nearly impossible to replace in a line-up especially from an unknown or unproven minor league player.

The Diamondbacks made a call to Triple-A Reno and called up outfielder Trent Oeltjen. Oeltgen has toiled in the minor league system for over 8 years never seeming to break that last barrier that would put him on the major league roster.

After a game against the Iowa Cubs where Oeltjen committed an error in the outfield that led to the Cubs scoring; he was called into manager Brett Butler’s office. Oeltjen prepared himself for the deserved chewing out that would accompany a lack of mental sharpness in the field.

As the conversation ended, Butler told him that he had just been called up to the big leagues and to pack his stuff. The wave of emotions you feel at a time like this are indescribable. You have worked your whole life for this opportunity and now you are about to embark on a journey that fulfills your dream.

Trent Oeltjen arrived in Pittsburgh and went to PNC Park where he was introduced to his new teammates and was given the news that he would be in the starting line-up. If AJ Hinch is like any other manager I am sure he pulled Oeltjen aside and told him not to worry about anything.

The Baseball Gods look after a rookie for their first game; after that the player is on their own. On this night the Baseball Gods worked overtime to make sure Oeltjen had the time of his life.

During this game he would collect his first major league hit, an infield grounder that went off the pitcher. He would also steal his first base in his major league career when he stole second. He would have an opportunity to throw out his first baserunner when the Pirates tried to take second on a base hit. Finally, he would hit his first major league homerun with a shot to right field.

It was an amazing day for this native of Australia. At the end of the day you could not wipe the smile off his face. These are the kinds of things that make baseball so special. I wish Trent Oeltjen the best during his stint with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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