Waiting has been the only part of Brandon Mann’s Major League Baseball career … until now.
The Texas Rangers promoted the left-handed pitcher from the minor leagues to the majors Sunday, ending his 16-plus-year wait for his first call-up to “the show.” Mann is available in the bullpen in the Rangers’ game against the Houston Astros, and he’s keen to make his long-awaited major-league debut as his 34th birthday nears.
“It means everything,” Mann told The Dallas News’ Gerry Fraley. “Lot of reflecting on the journey of where it’s been. This is pretty awesome.
“I always told myself I was a big leaguer. To keep grinding for that opportunity, you have to believe that you are.”
The Tampa Bay Rays selected Mann in the 27th round of the 2002 draft, and he pitched in Tampa’s organization through 2009. He then joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization ahead of the 2010 season, but the team cut ties with him during the season.
Mann played independent baseball for the rest of 2010 before heading for Japan, where he spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons. After spending 2013 out of professional baseball, Mann caught on with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2014 but was released and played more independent baseball for the rest of that season and the next.
Mann then pitched in the Oakland Athletics organization in 2016 and 2017 but was released again. He admits he contemplated retirement last season after balking at the idea of playing for another independent team.
“There weren’t a lot of teams calling,” Mann said. “I believed in my heart I was definitely capable of pitching in the big leagues. It’s crazy what happens.”
Texas signed Mann in January on a minor-league contract and gave him his big break four months later. He only needs to throw one pitch for the Rangers to prove dreams can come true if you’re willing to work and wait for them.
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