Former Turlock High standout Kevin Kramer has already made his mark in the big leagues, just two weeks after being called up to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Most recently, he started in back-to-back games against the St. Louis Cardinals.
In six games played, Kramer has batted .231 in 13 at-bats, tallying a pair of RBI, two runs, three hits and a walk.
The Pirates are 4-2 so far with Kramer in the lineup or playing.
Kramer made his official debut as a pinch-hitter on Sept. 5 against Cincinnati.
“Being my first year experience and being in the clubhouse and talking with all the guys I met in training and seeing the big P in the carpet was special,” said Kramer. “Taking the walk into batting practice and getting my jersey, I’m first and foremost very thankful… a special day for me.”
Kramer got the call up to the big leagues as his season ended with his Triple-A squad, the Indianapolis Indians on Sept. 4.
“I was in Louisville, Kentucky where we finished and after the game my manager called me in and my coach said for me to grow and be more consistent, they moved me up to the big leagues,” said Kramer. “He made it clear it is my time and my time to join the team in Pittsburgh and gave me advice and congratulations. I gave all my coaches a hug and then I started calling close friends and family because this is a big win for everybody that has helped because if it isn’t for them I wouldn’t be here today.”
In 129 games played with the Indianapolis Indians, Kramer batted .311 with 59 RBI and 15 home-runs.
He also finished with 35 doubles and an on-base-percentage of .365 in 476 at-bats.
“I felt ready, I was as prepared as I’ve ever been,” said Kramer. “I am active with the Pirates and they told me they planned to get me some at-bats, and with the roster expanding to 40, but first and foremost I am super thankful and happy to be here, I want to get in and contribute and the time will come in the future and have fun and show what I’ve got because we are here for a reason.”
Three days later, on Sept. 7, Kramer cracked his way into the starting lineup against the Miami Marlins. Kramer played second and third base, starting at second, while batting second in the lineup.
He finished the game going 2-for-4 with a run and RBI as the Pirates defeated the Marlins, 5-3.
In the Pirates’ recent three-game series against the Cardinals, Kramer started in the final two games.
“As a kid you grow up and idolize these ball players,” said Kramer. “I don’t think it was a dream I thought could make a reality until I started playing baseball at a high level and college was a great experience for me and at that point you see guys who have had success or be in big leagues and by then you start to realize you have a good shot if you stay with what you need to take care of. My first at bat or playing defense, it was a dream come true, I need to enjoy the experience and not be satisfied.”
He batted seventh, then fifth in the starting lineup, respectively, getting four at-bats in both games against the Cardinals. He played in all three.
“It's been awesome to get out there and compete against a storied franchise. It's all part of the process to experience that kind of atmosphere. Faced some really good pitchers and got to experience high level pitching,” said Kramer. “It was awesome to beanie to start and see action in all three games. I'll use it as a learning experience and take positives out of each day.”
Kramer and the Pirates will start a three-game series on the road at Milwaukee, beginning at 5:10 p.m. Friday.