August 10, 2022

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For Arias, first MLB callup short but sweet

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This story was excerpted from Mandy Bell’s Guardians Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Without a doubt, one of the best things about baseball is callup stories.

It’s a time when young players realize their dreams have come true. Nothing else matters but playing the game they love at the highest level possible. And we get to sit back and watch the emotions of all of this taking place. The Guardians’ No. 3 prospect Gabriel Arias was no different.

Arias was added to the roster as the 29th man for Wednesday’s doubleheader against the White Sox, which means he knew he wasn’t going to be around for more than a day. But that didn’t matter when he walked into the clubhouse, peeked at the Game 1 lineup and saw his name inked at the seventh spot in the order at second base.

“I have to confess,” Arias said through team interpreter Agustin Rivero, “I [had] a couple of tears come down when I saw my name up there.”

Arias couldn’t prevent a big cheesy grin from emerging on his face the entire time he met with media Wednesday morning. Not breaking camp with the team out of Spring Training was a difficult pill for him to swallow, considering he had a strong spring campaign both this year and last. So, just to be able to taste the big leagues — even if just for 24 hours — was enough to build his confidence even higher.

Arias was hitless in his first game, but returned to the lineup in the nightcap, starting at third base. In the fourth inning, he served a single into right field to record his first big league hit. The Guardians’ bench yelled for the ball to be thrown into the dugout for Arias to save as a keepsake.

When the ball made its way out of play, it found its way into the hands of José Ramírez, who stepped out on the field and pretended to throw it into the crowd, playfully taunting Arias at first base. After a couple of pump fakes, Ramírez ran into the dugout, got a second ball and came back out to throw the extra ball into the stands. He waved Arias’ first hit souvenir in the air to prove he didn’t get rid of it — because, let’s face it, it’s Ramírez and we’d believe he’d do anything.

Arias got that ball and a few other keepsakes from his first day in the big leagues. When asked what he was going to do with all of it, he didn’t hesitate: He will give it to his grandfather.

“Without support you’re not able to become a player at any age,” Arias said, when asked why his grandfather was so important to him. “More than that, he was the one taking me to baseball games when I was a little kid.”

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