Welcome back, Kazmar! Braves’ infielder claws his way back to The Bigs today after 13-year absence

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New phone, who dis?

New phone, who dis?
Image: AP

I don’t know; maybe all the wrestling fans who hated peak John Cena wearing ‘Never Give Up’ t-shirts could acknowledge that he had a point?

Atlanta Braves infielder Sean Kazmar Jr. was called up by the organization and made active ahead of today’s game against the Chicago Cubs, going on to make his major league return after about 13 years. It’s not quite Chris Coste, who debuted as a 33-year-old rookie catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006, but it’s an equally remarkable display of perseverance.

Kazmar Jr., 36, was originally drafted in the 32nd round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, again selected in the 37th round of the 2003 Draft by the Oakland Athletics, and finally, the fifth round by the San Diego Padres in 2004, with whom he signed. Kazmar’s MLB debut came in 2008, where he hit .205 across 19 games (39 at-bats) but has been in the minor league system ever since. Through his minor league career, he has accumulated 6,019 at-bats and 1,558 hits, including 98 home runs.

The career .259 MILB hitter made an impression in spring training, hitting .409 with a 1.415 OPS across 22 at-bats in 25 games.

“That was probably one of the greatest moments I’ve had as a manager at all the levels, quite honestly,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s amazing. You go from ‘08 to 2021, in between; you’ve got to be kidding me — to have the perseverance and the dedication and the drive.”

Unfortunately, in his return, the Cubs built an 11-0 lead, which did clear the way for Kazmar to get his first Major League at-bat since 2008, but he grounded into a double-play.

Still, 99-percent of guys retire, understandably so, after toiling away in the minors for an extended period (PS: Pay them better), so good for Kazmar.

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