PHOENIX – Class Triple-A Reno’s championship celebration was only the beginning of Mike Jacobs’ big Tuesday night.
After wiping the burning champagne from his eyes following Reno’s 10-3 victory over Pawtucket, Jacobs was called into a meeting and told he was returning to the majors, filling his eyes again.
The Diamondbacks added the veteran first baseman for the final two weeks of the season Wednesday, 2 ½ years since his last appearance in the big leagues and 13 months after he was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for Human Growth Hormone while playing for Triple-A Colorado Springs in Colorado’s minor league system.
“There were a lot of tears in that room. It was special,” said Jacobs, 31.
“It’s pretty amazing when you see a guy with five or six years (and has) hit 30 home runs in the big leagues be as emotional as he was,” said D-backs general manager Kevin Towers.
Jacobs has 100 homers in six major league seasons, including 32 for the Florida Marlins in 2008, but his career took a detour after the positive test last August for HGH, a substance banned in the minor leagues and since banned in the majors in the most recent collective bargaining agreement.
Jacobs was the first North American athlete in any sport to test positive for HGH, which he said he used in an attempt to treat knee and back injuries. He called it “a terrible decision” at the time, and he apologized in a statement two days after the positive test was announced, never denying it.
He hit .279 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI for Reno, joining the team after finishing his suspension in May, and he also provided leadership to the young Reno players on their way to Pacific Coast League and Triple-A championships. Adam Eaton calls Jacobs his “father,” Jacobs said, and A.J. Pollock, also called up Wednesday, said he was happier for Jacobs than he was for himself.
Jacobs said he was grateful for the second chance but was not sure it would ever come.
“You always hope there is a chance, but until you get that call into that office, you just go about your business the best you can. I think you always question it,” said Jacobs, who signed with the D-backs in the offseason and completed his suspension in the extended spring training program.
He believes admitting the mistake was a positive first step.
“If you look at the history of people who have had things go wrong, when they run from it, it blows up in their face,” he said. “I think when you can own up to your mistakes and try to move on from them, that’s the only thing you can do. That’s what I did. I’m here now. You can run and hide from things for only so long. You just put your face forward and tell it like it is, I guess, and ask for that forgiveness and try to move on. Whether I got back to the Diamondbacks or not, I was just grateful for the opportunity to play baseball again.”
Jacobs is seen as an experienced left-handed hitter with power off the bench, a luxury the D-backs have not had this season. He also appears to be a viable option for 2013 for a team that hopes to upgrade its bench. Paul Goldschmidt is the only true first baseman on the roster, although Ryan Wheeler can play both first and third.
“We’ll see,” Towers said of Jacobs’ chances to make the team next year. “We have roster decisions to make. I think it is a need. We have Ryan Wheeler, but it would be nice to have another left-handed power bat. I think he has interest in staying in the organization.”
“It is definitely a place I would like to come back to,” said Jacobs, from the San Diego area.
Emotion caught up to Jacobs again Wednesday. Jacobs paused for about 20 seconds before answering how his wife reacted to the news.
“It’s been pretty overwhelming,” he said.
TREVOR BAUER UPDATE
A day after the D-backs talked as if Trevor Bauer would rejoin them for the final two weeks of the regular season,general manager Towers said Bauer would be shut down for the rest of the season after throwing 146 2/3 innings between Reno and Double-A Mobile.
Bauer was 14-2 with a 2.33 ERA in the minors, finishing by giving up two runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 10-3 victory over Pawtucket in the Triple-A championship game Tuesday. He gave up four hits and walked seven and was removed with an 8-2 lead.
“Probably wasn’t his best outing last night, but the performance last night had nothing to do with it,” Towers said.
“More than likely, he will probably be our minor league pitcher of the year. We didn’t want to drop any of the guys out of the rotation right now. We didn’t want to injure him by pitching him out of the bullpen. I talked to him at length after the game and said, ‘You have a lot to be proud of in the season that you had. Just be mentally and physically prepared to win one of these jobs when you into spring.'”
It appears as if Bauer will enter spring training next year as the sixth starter, behind both rookie left-handers Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs.