Pat Dean is entering his seventh season as a professional baseball player for the Minnesota Twins organization. For the former Naugatuck Greyhound, standing on the pitcher’s mound is just another day at the office.
Dean, a third-round draft pick out of Boston College in 2010, has experienced high and lows over his career. After a sterling performance last summer for the Triple-A affiliate Rochester Red Wings, Dean was added to the Twins 40-man roster for the first time in his career. That meant when Dean arrived at spring training this season he would be in the big league camp with a chance to break into the Major League roster.
What does that all mean to the lanky left-hander?
“You really can’t get too carried away with results,” warned Dean, after his first appearance in a Major League spring training game. “You can’t get too high, or too low, it’s just another day at the office.”
Having gone through the ups and downs of a professional baseball career, Dean has developed the perspective of taking it one game at a time. It wasn’t too long ago that Dean struggled at Double-A New Britain. And then last year he was the Pitcher of the Month twice at the Minor League’s biggest stage in Triple-A.
Dean’s seventh season got under way March 4 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla. Dean entered the game in the seventh inning with the score tied at 1, and back-to-back singles quickly had him on the ropes.
As he did all last season, Dean escaped the uprising on a sacrifice bunt, a fielder’s choice and a line out to first base. The first inning of a Major League spring training game in the books and no real damage.
“I admit, I was a little excited to get the first out in the books,” Dean said. “Fortunately I was able to get out of the mess I created for myself. It’s really a laid back atmosphere, they treat you like a big leaguer.”
In his second outing March 8 against the Toronto Blue Jays, Dean retired the side in the fourth inning striking out the last batter. Dean was summoned to go out and pitch in the fifth and surrendered his first home run to David Adams on a 3-2 count. One out later he allowed a double that ended his outing.
Dean didn’t let that affect him. He took the mound in his latest appearance on Sunday against Baltimore. He needed only five pitches to retire the side striking out the last batter on three pitches.
The Twins made several roster moves on Monday, including reassigning seven pitchers and five position players to their Minor League camps. Dean was among the pitchers reassigned.
Dean has done all he could to make it a tough decision on management. He will report to the Triple-A Rochester camp for another go around with the Red Wings with the hope of being called up to Minnesota sometime this season.
“You really can’t allow yourself to get too carried away with results at this point,” Dean said. “You just need to go out there and do your job and take it one game at a time.”