Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

From Mazatlan, with love

Hurler is the first Fish to come from Mexico

  • Print
Justin Garcia leads off the 2013 pre-season for the Goldeyes Monday night against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Shaw Park.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Justin Garcia leads off the 2013 pre-season for the Goldeyes Monday night against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Shaw Park. Photo Store

There are just more than 3,900 kilometers between Winnipeg and the coastal city of Mazatlan, Mexico -- a distance often crossed by Canadian sunseekers en route to a warmer place.

It is also how far Edgar Osuna's arm has carried him, since the 25-year-old pitcher was just a boy tossing balls with his siblings: from Mazatlan, to the little baseball towns of the American south, and now to Shaw Park, where he figures to be a key part of the Winnipeg Goldeyes rotation this season.

He is the first player from baseball-mad Mexico to suit up for the Fish, a fact he agreed was a nice feather in his cap. "It's been very nice," Osuna said of his first week in Winnipeg, as he relaxed in the Goldeyes bullpen after practice on Monday. "I asked my American friends, 'is (Canada) different?' But I feel pretty comfortable here, and there's nice people around."

It is also, Osuna hopes, the kind of place where a pitcher can pump new life into his career. He'll get his first chance on the mound here tonight, when he pitches in the second of the Fish's pre-season tilts against the visiting Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks -- and after missing most of the last two years of baseball, the southpaw is ready to get back in the game.

Osuna was 18 years old when he signed on with the Atlanta Braves in 2006, and pitched a solid 0.92 ERA in two starts and four relief appearances with the Braves' rookie squad. He continued to play for the Braves organization until 2010, when the Kansas City Royals snapped him up in the MLB Rule 5 draft. He immediately turned in a career year, pitching 2.95 ERA in 17 starts with the AA-level Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

But injury trouble soon set in, a bum shoulder it was. After struggling with his pitches for a season, Osuna went under the knife in August 2011. What followed: a full year of rehab, a lost 2012 season and a whole lot of self-reflection. For a pitcher still looking to climb the ladder of pro baseball, it was a crossroads.

"A lot of things were going through my head," Osuna said. "But I think it helped me a lot too. It wasn't really bad to have my surgery. I sat back and thought about a lot of stuff, what I was doing right, or what I was doing wrong. It was a part of my life, and it helped me a lot to get better."

Finally, the shoulder was good enough to throw, and Osuna signed on last winter with the Mexicali Eagles of the Mexican winter league. Getting back on the field was a thrill, and he turned out well, going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 11 starts. "I was so excited, I was like a kid," he said. "I was nervous too, but more excited to be back after a year."

That stint was enough to catch the eye of Goldeyes manager Rick Forney, who started talking to Osuna early this year. After handling the immigration paperwork, Osuna's signing was announced in late April. He's pencilled in as a starter, the final addition to the pitching rotation.

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 7, 2013 D4

History

Updated on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 9:02 AM CDT: adds fact box

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.