I’ve been sitting on the idea of writing a blog about shortstops recently. After all, the Pelicans might have the most in Minor League Baseball. Myrtle Beach’s roster, as of this morning, was comprised of no fewer than nine guys who can or have played short. The list includes Odubel Herrera, Eddy Garcia, Christian Villanueva, Tomas Telis, Josh Richmond, Jared Hoying, Joe Van Meter, Cody Buckel and Randy Henry.
There might be a point in time when that blog still happens, but as of now the list has shrunk by two. The Pelicans found out last night that Hoying and Buckel are headed up to Double-A Frisco. The duo have a 4:30am taxi to Washington Dulles, making their way to Frisco by way of Charlotte. It’s a bit of a juggling act as far as packing goes with the fact that the Birds are in the midst of a seven game roadtrip, but that’s a good problem to have.
“Thinking that it might be possible to get called up on the road,” Buckel said, “I did actually pack up my entire wardrobe into my suitcase and I have my car packed up just expecting the unexpected.”
Buckel’s been on the road since Monday, spending the early part of this week in Winston-Salem for the California-Carolina League All-Star Game.
“I’m actually in a very good situation clothing wise,” Buckel continued. “I have every single one of my Puma shirts and I have every single one of my 22 Puma hats ready to go.”
It’s a bit of a contrast for Hoying, who packed in haste for this roadtrip. The outfielder has three shirts with him. His car, he said, will probably stay in Myrtle Beach with Mike Olt picking up his chauffeur duties in Texas.
For a minor league manager, one of the most fun parts about the job is getting to give the news to promoted players. For Jason Wood, he got to deliver the news twice Thursday.
“I wasn’t in the lineup and I didn’t know what was going on,” said Hoying, the first position player involved in a Pelicans transaction since Andrew Clark’s day three retirement. “It was either A) there was a lefty starting so I wasn’t playing, or B) I was getting called up.”
It turned out both were the case.
“You hope it’s the best thing. Hopefully years from now it’s not the opposite where I’m getting released,” Hoying said with a chuckle. “I’ve never had that feeling before and it feels pretty good.”
For Buckel the news came as something of a surprise, if not for the news itself, definitely the timing.
“I had just gotten out of the shower and I was at my locker with a towel wrapped around me,” Buckel said. “Brad’s [Holman] like ‘Cody get in here.’”
“Do you want me to change,” Cody replied. “‘No you look fine,’ Holman countered. “I was shirtless and had a towel around me and I’m lucky when I got the news I didn’t put my hands on my head.”
The duo of Buckel and Hoying getting promoted on the same day provided an interesting dichotomy. While Hoying leaves Myrtle Beach after a full season and a half, Buckel departs after only a handful of starts, spending one half with the Pelicans at just 19 years old.
“The goal I set for myself in the offseason was to get to Double-A by the playoffs,” said Buckel. ”I’m very pleased to get there this early. The pace of the game is going to change, the hitters are going to be better, the zones are going to be tighter, so I’m going to have to be a little bit more efficient at that level.”
“You get comfortable with everything and that helps a lot,” Hoying said of his Grand Strand time. “The newness has worn off and you stay mentally focused. You just go about your business and keep playing hard and keep doing what you’ve been doing to get to this point…Fortunately for me something good did happen today.”
The roster spots of Buckel and Hoying are filled by Hanser Alberto and Luke Jackson. Both players will be promoted from Low-A Hickory. For Jackson the move is a return to where he just left. The pitcher spent his all-star break with several members of the Pelicans staff at the beach before rejoining Hickory Thursday.