Last Modified: Friday, June 29, 2012 11:29 AM
By Alex Hickey / American Press
One year into his professional baseball career, Jace Peterson is an all-star.
Not at the highest level. Not yet, anyway. But he is at least taking a step on the path toward getting there.
played in last week’s Midwest League All-Star Game, concluding the
opening half of his first season with the San Diego Padres’ Class-A
affiliate, the Fort Wayne (Ind.) TinCaps. He leads the league with 29
stolen bases and six triples while batting .286.
great,” Peterson said shortly after signing a few dozen autographs
during pre-game festivities. “I’m learning a lot and enjoying it. Every
day is something new. I just look forward to every day coming to the
park and learning.”
Peterson’s showing in the All-Star Game was a
perfectly good analogy for his career as a whole right now — potential,
still under construction.
entered the game as a substitute shortstop and struck out looking in
his first at-bat. He laced an opposite-field double down the left-field
line his next up, eventually scoring a run in the Eastern All-Stars’
18-2 blowout win over their Western counterparts.
He executed a
difficult pickand-throw on the first ball hit into play after entering
the game in the field. A couple innings later, it was coupled with an
can be expected in the long grind to the major leagues, particularly
playing at the most challenging defensive position on the diamond. This
is the first full year that Peterson has dedicated completely to
baseball after also starring in football at Hamilton Christian Academy
and McNeese State.
“Every day I’m coming to the ballpark ready
for the grind no matter what,” Peterson said. “No matter whether you’ve
had a bad day or a good day the day before, you have another day.”
There have also been bruises.
Ironically, this season provided Peterson with a much greater injury scare than he ever experienced on the football field.
a game on May 10, Peterson dove for a pop-up behind the mound, where
his head collided with the knee of pitcher Colin Rea. Peterson was
carted off the field and missed the next week with a neck injury.
was something I’ve never had to go through. I definitely don’t want to
have it happen again and wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” Peterson said.
“But that’s something that’s part of sports. It was unfortunate it
happened, but everything’s fine. I’m happy to be back playing.”
balance beam put itself in play shortly after Peterson’s injury, as
former McNeese teammate Lee Orr was called up to Fort Wayne from a stint
in extended spring training.
Orr has blasted a team-high eight home runs despite playing in half as many games as most of his teammates.
one of my best friends. It was bad when he had to stay (in spring
training) and I left,” Peterson said. “It’s unfortunate. He did what he
had to do to get here. I’m proud of him. He’s doing great and I know
he’ll continue to do so.”
Minor league baseball provides a
unique dynamic for a team sport — it’s one of the few sports where
teammates are in competition with one another as much as their
opponents. But Peterson said teammates are still the key to getting
through the tough times.
“Teammates keep you up,” Peterson said. “You’ve got to stay positive no matter what the situation is.”
The bus rides are long and the homesickness can set in from time to time.
focus on the big picture — an eventual call-up to the big leagues — is
what keeps Peterson, Orr and their teammates going.
being home. But (being far away) is just part of it,” Peterson said.
“You pick a career and go with it. This is my profession, and I’m