Coming into the first official start of his MLB spring training career on Friday, San Francisco Giants non-roster invitee Mark Minicozzi gained quite a bit of press detailing his tumultuous journey just to make it into a big-league camp. It was deservedly so, as the 31-year-old has rebounded from being released from the Giants organization following Tommy John surgery, playing in independent leagues across the world, and quite literally being yanked out of the stands to play, as he met up with two of his former Giants coaches in Richmond and ended up being offered a contract following an invitation to hit in front of the staff.
With Minicozzi penciled into the eight hole and playing first base in Friday’s exhibition against the Milwaukee Brewers, he continued his amazing story by hitting a home run to right center field in his first plate appearance, which ended up being the most important offensive moment of the day in the Giants’ 4-3 victory.
This isn’t the first time Minicozzi has impressed with the big-league club, as he came up from minor league camp on several occasions last spring. In his first at-bat, he hit an opposite-field homer. Obviously, as a 31-year-old minor-leaguer, Minicozzi still has strong odds to overcome. But seeing as he’s hit a collective .296 with 20 homers over the last two seasons in the Double-A Eastern League, which has traditionally been notoriously pitcher-friendly, it’s becoming a stronger possibility that Minicozzi will be able to live out his dreams of being a big-leaguer at some point.
It will be up to Minicozzi to keep up his production throughout the spring and into the regular season as a minor-leaguer. With that said, there’s not significant separation in the pecking order between Minicozzi, fellow minor-league veteran Chris Dominguez, and power-hitting prospects Adam Duvall and Angel Villalona. If the Giants need a corner infielder at some point this season, any of them have a shot to be called up.
Especially when you consider how good he’s been since he re-entered the Giants system, it would be unbelievably cool to see the journeyman finally get a chance to become a big-leaguer this year. Though spring training is far from being the end-all, be-all, Minicozzi certainly made a good impression on Friday.