CLEVELAND — Marc Rzepczynski makes no secret of the fact that his name is not easy to spell, or pronounce.
He just thinks people should have seen what it used to be.
“My original family name was 21 letters,” he said after reporting to the Indians on Wednesday.
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Evidently his family came from Austria late in the late 19th or early 20th century, and when they arrived they decided to change their name. It was not an uncommon occurrence, with names altered, changed or missspelled at immigration.
Going to Rzepczynski hardly seems like simplifying much, until it’s factored in that it’s 10 letters shorter than his family’s European name.
And … any other Rzepczynskis he’s come across are not related to him. He said the story goes that when his great-grandfather emigrated he left a farm in Austria and the people who worked on the farm came with him and took the same name.
“I don’t know where they came up with it,” Rzepczynski said. “It is what it is. Unfortunately.”
Rzepczynski (it’s prounced zep-chin-skee) is the Indians only addition at the All-Star Break, though they did keep trying to add another left-handed reliever. Javier Lopez was on the wanted list, until they Giants reportedly asked for Danny Salazar. Saying no to that proposal was not difficult.
“There were a lot of bad deals we could have made,” GM Chris Antonetti said.
“The asking price for some guys was just unreasonable, in my opinion,” manager Terry Francona said. “If thats how I feel, imagine how Chris feels.”
So Rzepczynski was put on the major league roster and Vinnie Pestano was sent to AAA, as the Indians determined they wanted another lefty and they needed Pestano to pitch more to straighten himself out.
Rzepczynski told his new teammates to call him Zep or Marc — “Nice and short” — and he said he is well aware he has been called “Scrabble.”
“That was more of a fan thing,” he said. “I got it in Toronto. It never stuck just because … we didn’t have many fans who came to the game. It’s a hockey town.
“It’s one of those I like but I prefer Zep more than anything else.”
Rzepczynski said he only knows the family story, and can’t vouch to its authenticity. He said he’s never learned the original name.
“I guess I’m happier having an 11-letter last name than a 21-letter last name,” he said.