WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 06, 2004
Living The Dream...
Oct. 6, 2004
Every baseball player who has put on a glove and laced up his cleats has aspirations to make it to the major leagues, let alone play for a World Series contender. For former JU pitchers Juan Padilla and Nick Regilio, a pair of dreams came true when the duo had their contracts purchased by the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers, respectively, and found themselves in the heart of the American League pennant race during the summer of 2004.
Padilla, a relief pitcher from Levittown, Puerto Rico, was called up on July 16 and pitched in six games for the Yankees before being released and claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds on Sept. 3. Padilla was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 24th round of the 1998 MLB Amateur Draft and was acquired by the Yankees in 2003 in the deal that sent Jesse Orosco to Minnesota. The righthander spent the first two weeks of the 2004 season with the Trenton Thunder (AA) in the Eastern League before making the jump to the Columbus Clippers (AAA) in the International League on April 17.
A member of the Dolphin program from 1997-98, Padilla posted a 0-0 record and a 3.97 ERA in six appearances out of the bullpen for the Yankees. On July 19 when New York faced the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, an entourage of Dolphin faithful drove to Tropicana Field in Tampa to see the former Dolphin hurl a little more than one inning of scoreless relief. After the game, Yankees manager Joe Torre said he was impressed with the righthander's "unflappability". Since joining the Reds in the National League, Padilla has appeared in 15 games out of the bullpen.
Regilio, a starting pitcher from Deltona, Fla., originally made his debut at Fenway Park against the Red Sox with an inning out of the bullpen before being recalled on July 22 after the all-star break. With the Rangers, who are a surprise contender for the American League West crown in 2004, Regilio was a regular fixture in the starting rotation until a shoulder injury prematurely ended his season. The righthander appeared in six games for the Rangers, including four starts, and finished with a 0-4 record and a 6.05 ERA in 16.1 innings.
A member of the Dolphin squad from 1998-99, Regilio was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the second round of the 1999 MLB Amateur Draft and then advanced his way through the minors. Despite battling tendonitis and shoulder surgery, Regilio finally landed with the Oklahoma RedHawks (AAA) in the Pacific Coast League before getting his first call to the majors.
"It can all be a blur," Regilio said in a telephone interview with the Florida-Times Union about his minor league career. "You just try to stay focused through all the ups and downs because one day your chance will come."