San Diego Padres: Dusty Coleman gets shot at bigs with Aybar injured

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 24: Dusty Coleman
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 24: Dusty Coleman /

The shortstop position seems to never have had a long term solution for the San Diego Padres, but the 30-year-old Dusty Coleman now has his opportunity.

It’s a name not many Padres fans are well aware of. Dusty Coleman is now the club’s starting shortstop, for the time being. With offseason acquisition Erick Aybar now sidelined with a fractured foot, the 30-year-old rookie has his shot.

Coleman started his first game with the Padres in Monday night’s series opener against the Mets, but was hitless. Tuesday, he entered the game late, and collected his first big league hit by delivering an RBI double. For a player whose journey to this moment was so long, the relief and jubilation Coleman must have felt in this moment has to be significant.

Coleman is a tremendous athlete. In high school, he was the starting quarterback on the football team, starting point guard on the basketball team, and starting shortstop on the baseball team. He chose baseball, and began a long road to his ultimate destination which he has only just recently reached.

Coleman began his journey as a 28th round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2008. Bouncing around in the minors became normal for the young infielder, but it soon became clear that any sort of long term success in Oakland was unrealistic. So, ahead of the 2015 season, Coleman signed with the Royals, hoping for a new start.

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Kansas City gave him this new start, and brought him all of the way up to the major leagues in his first season with the organization. At this time, Coleman was playing third base, and made his major league debut at age 28 only to be sent back after five plate appearances. He spent 2016 in the Kansas City organization as well, but was granted free agency immediately following the season.

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At this point, few would blame Coleman on giving up on a baseball career which never quite panned out the way he wanted it to. He did end up making it to the majors, and he had certainly brought in enough income from playing all of these seasons, even just in the minors. Approaching the other side of his prime, it appeared unlikely Coleman would get another legitimate shot.

But on December 2nd, he signed with the Padres. And if there’s a position the Padres could use some help at, it’s shortstop, Coleman’s natural position.

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With Aybar injured, Coleman was brought to Petco Park for the first time on Monday, making his debut with the big league club. While it wasn’t his first major league game, it was during this stint that Coleman reached another unlikely milestone, collecting his first hit.

The latest news doesn’t look promising for Aybar, and reports suggest he may even miss the remainder of the season. While this is yet another setback for the Padres who lack depth, Coleman is the man for the job. Yes, he’s a rookie, but he’s about the most seasoned rookie around at 30 years of age and with all of his minor league experience.

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Dusty Coleman is not going to be the shortstop of the future. The Padres have other prospects who will hopefully finally fill that role. He is, however, an impressive story of persistence and determination. And now, after waiting eight long years, he gets to reap the benefits of spending a couple of months at the big league level.