The dream of continuing his baseball career took another positive step for Felix Minjarez '18, who was called up to High-A Minor League last week to make a spot start for the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League.
"The opportunity came as a surprise and was very spontaneous so I had no idea I was leaving until seven hours before I boarded the plane," Minjarez commented.
Minjarez was in the locker room, playing for Tri-City of the Northwest League in Washington on the night his manager announced he was headed to Southern California.
"It meant a lot to me because I was able to play in front of my family for the first time. I grew up watching the Storm and [Rancho Cucamonga] Quakes face each other. To be on the field and competing was very special."
Following his stellar career as a student-athlete at the University of Redlands, Minjarez was picked up by the San Diego Padres as a post-draft free agent. He has been training, developing his craft, and enjoying the ride. So far, he has pitched nine innings with the Storm, which is heading to the playoffs. He has 82.1 innings pitched and 93 strikeouts in his minor league career.
At Redlands, Minjarez put together an impressive four-year career that included a pair of All-America nods, multiple All-Region awards, and the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Pitcher of the Year honor.
"I thought I was done playing when my name wasn't called during the draft, so to be still playing has been the biggest surprise and a real blessing," he added.