Simply participating in a major league game would’ve been an unbelievable ending to the Trevor Richards story.
However, the right-hander continues to author new, compelling chapters to his baseball career. Coming off seven dominant innings last Saturday night, Richards (15.1 IP, 4.70 ERA, 3.95 FIP in 2018) traveled with the Marlins to take his next turn in their starting rotation.
His opponent? Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers.
This new challenge feels sort of familiar to Richards, though. The MillerCoors company that sponsors the Brewers’ ballpark is a former employer.
On Wednesday’s off day, the 24-year-old toured the brewery—literally blocks away from Miller Park—where he worked from October 2016 to February 2017. Richards had finished the previous summer at Class A Greensboro and wasn’t thought of a serious prospect at the time. Seasonal positions are hard to come by at that time of year, but a spot opened up in their gift shop after another employee suffered a broken leg, according to his supervisor.
“I was just looking for some sort of money,” he told JR Radcliffe of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You don’t make enough to not work in the offseason. Every offseason, I had to get a job.”
Richards was joined by teammates—from left to right—Tyler Cloyd, Bryan Holaday, Drew Steckenrider, Brian Anderson and Dillon Peters, plus his girlfriend Aunna Beckemeyer.
In 2017, Richards turned skeptics into believers by replicating his low-minors success at Class A Advanced Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville (146.0 IP, 2.53 ERA, 2.36 FIP at both levels combined). But even last winter, the Marlins minor league pitcher of the year had to find a second job, this time as a substitute teacher.
With veteran starters Dan Straily and Wei-Yin Chen expected to be activated from the disabled list later this month, there’s pressure on Richards to perform well on this road trip to solidify his place on the roster. Fortunately, the buzz from whatever beverages he may have consumed that day will have worn off by the time he takes the mound on Friday (8:10pm ET first pitch).