Stange Makes Big League Debut
Photography: Jordan Megenhardt
D-backs right-handed reliever Daniel Stange made his Major League debut on Thursday, throwing, as the official scorer says, “one inning, all the rest zeroes,” which means no hits, no runs, no home runs, no walks and no strikeouts.
Other than mixing in a strikeout here or there, there are no four words in the English language that a pitcher would rather hear than, “all the rest zeroes.”
I talked to Stange for a few minutes after the game, just to shake his hand, say congratulations and welcome to Arizona. He very briefly seemed excited, with a pretty big smile, but then quickly went back to being the same stoic guy everybody met in Spring Training.
“I don’t think he really cared, he’s pretty gritty,” Manager A.J. Hinch said of Stange. “He didn’t look any different yesterday than the times I saw him pitch in the minors.
We wrote about Daniel Stange on this blog back in February, with some video of him pitching. You can find that here.
The scenario was perfect for him on Thursday. The D-backs won big, 13-5, and got eight strong innings from starter Ian Kennedy, which let Hinch give Stange the soft landing he’d like to give every player making a debut.
“That worked out nice for us,” Hinch said. “I told him before the game I didn’t know if he was going to have a soft landing or gentle entry because of the way our pitching was lined up, but it turned out great. He came in with an ideal situation where we had the lead and it was no more pressure than what a normal Major League debut would bring.”
Hinch has a unique view on the situation. Having headed up the D-backs’ player development system for the past few years and having worked as a manager for the last year, he has two different angles from which to recognize the special feeling each player gets in their big league debut.
“It’s a big day. The more you’re around the big leagues, the further you get away from what that feeling is,” Hinch said. “But you get reminded every time a new guy comes up and plays on a Major League field in an official game for the first time. It’s a big deal. You work your whole life and as a kid you dream of that day. There is only one of them and it goes by in a heartbeat. He got to contribute to a win, which was a best-case scenario for everybody.
“I told him, I didn’t know if he’d be here for a couple of days or If he’d be here for the rest of the year, but I know you’ll never want to go back to the minor leagues once you get that first taste of the big leagues.”
Here is some video of Hinch discussing Stange’s role going forward: