Eshel­man seeks to cap­i­tal­ize on chance

Pitcher aims high dur­ing first sea­son in big leagues

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - COMMENTARY - By Nathan Ruiz

Shortly af­ter the trade that sent him from the Philadel­phia Phillies to the Ori­oles in early June, right-han­der Tom Eshel­man checked Bal­ti­more’s July sched­ule.

In his third straight year with Philadel­phia’s Triple-A af­fil­i­ate and still un­able to break through to the ma­jors, Eshel­man wel­comed the op­por­tu­nity the trade brought, es­pe­cially the pos­si­bil­ity that if he could be with the Ori­oles for the final week of July, he would get to be on the road trip of his dreams.

Eshel­man’s ap­pear­ance Sun­day against the Toronto Blue Jays at Cam­den Yards will be his first out­ing since his re­turn to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. He pitched in the Ori­oles’ first of four games in Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia, against the Los An­ge­les An­gels, min­utes from where he went to col­lege at Cal State Fuller­ton. That ap­pear­ance lined him up to start the fi­nale of a two-game se­ries with the San Diego Padres, whose games he grew up watch­ing as a na­tive of nearby Carls­bad, Cal­i­for­nia.

“I made it a goal of mine to be up at this point in time,” Eshel­man said. “All the domi­noes kind of fell in line for me.

“I’ve dreamt of it my whole en­tire life.”

Eshel­man, 25, fig­ured he had about 35 fam­ily, friends and for­mer team­mates and coaches at An­gel Sta­dium when he en­tered in re­lief be­hind an opener and al­lowed one run in 4 1⁄3 in­nings July 25. The visit timed out well, with his fi­ancee, Ni­cholle, hav­ing her bridal shower the same week­end, so both of their fam­i­lies were present.

“It worked out per­fectly,” Eshel­man said.

Fuller­ton coach Rick Van­der­hook, an An­gels sea­son-ticket holder, was also among the at­ten­dees, though he avoided

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