San Diego Padres: The surprise at shortstop

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 30: Dusty Coleman
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 30: Dusty Coleman /

The long journey of San Diego Padres shortstop Dusty Coleman is a familiar one, as the 30-year-old has finally realized his major league dream.

With Yangervis Solarte returning from the disabled list, Padres’ manager Andy Green has a real dilemma. The infield, which had been a weakness at the beginning of the season, has improved with the additions of Cory Spangenberg at third (April), Carlos Asuaje at second (June) and Dusty Coleman at short (July). As well as Spangenberg and Asuaje have played on both sides of the ball; Coleman has been the real surprise.

He had languished in the minor leagues since being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2008 with stops in rookie ball and up and down the levels of A ball from the Vancouver Canadians to the El Paso Chihuahuas. In a brief stint with the 2015 World Series champion Kansas City Royals, Coleman went 0-5 and was sent back to the minors. He did get a ring but probably little satisfaction.

Coleman, now 30, has acquitted himself well at shortstop, a perennial weakness for the Padres, and got his first hit in a loss to the New York Mets last Tuesday. Two nights later, Coleman hit his first home run; a three-run shot that helped the Padres split the series with the Mets.

Coleman’s wife Sarah has been around for the ride since the couple married in 2012, and now they have two small children to complicate the situation. Having spent the first eight years of my life moving from place to place as my own father pursued his dream of becoming a major league player, I know how difficult that journey can be.

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We moved two or three times a year at the very least, from town to town, cheap hotel to shabby apartment. My dad played in such garden spots as Tulsa OK, Shreveport LA, and Birmingham AL, where we experienced terrifying thunder storms, Texas jumping spiders and really big rattlesnakes. The reward for that journey came down to 16 games for the St. Louis Cardinals, one as a starter and 15 as a pinch hitter.

As a 28th round draft pick, Coleman’s chances of even reaching to big leagues were minuscule. Mike Rosenbaum of Bleacher Report estimates that 66 percent of first round draft picks make it to the big leagues at least for that proverbial cup of coffee, with second round picks at 49 percent and third-rounders at 32 percent. He doesn’t bother to mention the 28th round.

Next: Padres rumors: Position players

Dustin Michael Coleman has earned this last chance to live the dream of being a big league player.