Abington Heights grad makes his MLB debut

June 10th, 2015 9:33 am

First Posted: 9/2/2014

Abington Heights graduate Cory Spangenberg made a successful debut in Major League Baseball on Labor Day.

His second act was even more impressive.

Spangenberg delivered his first Major League hit, driving in two runs and played well defensively in his new position at third base while helping the San Diego Padres to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks Monday.

The second appearance of the 10th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft lasted just one pitch.

That one pitch was all Spangenberg needed to deliver the game-ending, pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday, lifting the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Spangenberg, who led Abington Heights to the 2009 Class AAA state championship, played at Virginia Military Academy and Indian River State College, Fla., for one year each. He has climbed through the San Diego minor league system quickly despite twice losing time to injuries after suffering concussions. He made it to the Major Leagues for the first time following a little more than three seasons in the minors and before playing his first game on the Triple-A level.

“It was a great experience,” Spangenberg told FOX Sports in an on-field, post-game interview after his debut Monday, “to finally be here was unbelievable.”

After playing second base for most of his professional career, Spangenberg began playing third base and center field in recent weeks at San Antonio of the Double-A Texas League.

Playing third base for just the ninth time, Spangenberg was put to the test in the top of the first inning. He made a diving stop to his left, stopping a potential RBI single by Mark Trumbo, and got the forceout at second base.

Spangenberg learned of his impending call-up Saturday, headed to San Diego Sunday and was activated Monday with Major League teams able to expand their rosters beyond 25 players September 1. He was one of three players the Padres promoted to add to the roster.

“Can’t believe my childhood dream has come true!” Spangenberg posted on Twitter Saturday. “Want to thank my family, friends and the support from the #570.”

By the time he was officially announced as the starting third baseman and eighth hitter for San Diego Monday, Spangenberg’s family was in San Diego, on its way to Petco Park to view his debut. Ken Sr. and Lynne Spangenberg were in attendance along with their other children, Ken Jr., Heather and Zach, according to a text from Ken Jr., the head baseball coach at Arcadia University.

They saw Cory Spangenberg go 1-for-4, getting his first hit with two out and the bases loaded in the fifth inning. He singled through the right side to drive in two runs and put the Padres ahead, 3-0.

Spangenberg batted .316 in 72 games with two teams in his first year as a professional in 2011. He batted .271 at Lake Elsinore of the California League in 2012. Spangenberg stole 36 bases while hitting .290 in 130 games between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio in 2013.

This season, Spangenberg was sidelined by injury in April. He made it back to San Antonio for the first time in July and wound up finishing the month with 47 hits, the most by a Texas League player in one month since 2010. Spangenberg was named Texas League Player of the Month after hitting .385 in 28 July games with 11 doubles, 20 runs scored and eight stolen bases.

Through 374 career minor-league games, the 23-year-old is hitting .296 with 220 runs scored and 161 runs batted in. He has 104 stolen bases, 69 doubles, 28 triples and 12 home runs.

Spangenberg is expected to get some outfield practice during pregame workouts, but is likely to just play in the infield for the Padres during September.