About to finish his fourth season in the minors, Jacksonville Suns pitcher A.J. Ramos was looking forward to going home to Lubbock, Tex. this week.
But just days before he was to depart for home, there was a change of plans.
Suns manager Andy Haines told him the team had cancelled his flight from Memphis to Lubbock and Ramos now had two options.
The first option was to drive from Memphis to Jacksonville to catch a flight to Lubbock.
The second option was to fly to Miami and join the Marlins.
“[Haines] shook my hand and it was just an amazing feeling – feelings I’ve never even felt before,” Ramos said of his first call-up. “It was crazy.”
Ozzie Guillen said that Ramos, who had 21 saves and a 1.44 ERA in Double-A, had impressed him all year long.
“This kid has had a great year,” Guillen said. “I’ve liked him since spring training and I think he deserved to be here right now. He earned it. He’s one of the best pitchers in the organization.”
Wearing an MLB jersey for the time, Ramos attributed his improvement this year to a higher degree of confidence in his pitches, which helped him increase his velocity.
“My velocity was great this year,” Ramos said. “Before, I was always focused on not throwing balls. This year I knew I could throw strikes, so I was more confident and I was able to let it go in the strike zone.”
Ramos was picked by the Marlins in the 21st round of the 2009 Draft after playing at Texas Tech.