Entering this season, Trent Fennell said he had hoped he might find himself pitching for the Colorado Rockies’ Class A affiliate, the Asheville Tourists. Instead, he was sent to the Rockies’ Class A-Short Season squad, the Boise Hawks, to start off the year.
But the Triton alumnus didn’t hang his head. Instead, he continued to work hard and make the most of his opportunities. It’s his first season as a full-time reliever, and in his four appearances with Boise, he's posted a 3.24 ERA and an impressive 14.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
That performance seemed good enough to turn a few heads in the Rockies’ organization, as Fennell was called up to pitch for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes on Saturday.
He found out he was moving up on Friday night. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in relief the night before against the Eugene Emeralds, and was warming up to come in again on Friday when the pitching coach came out to shut him down.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Fennell said. “But he told me it wasn’t a bad thing.”
They called him into the office after the game to let him know that he’d be brought up, though they weren’t sure where. Fennell figured he’d might get the call to come back to his home state and pitch for the Tourists. Instead, he jumped three classifications up to Albuquerque.
“I was definitely surprised,” Fennell said. “But I was also really excited. Not a lot of guys get the chance to pitch at the Triple-A level, so I was definitely thankful for the opportunity.”
Fennell made his debut with the Isotopes on Monday in Sacramento against the River Cats. He came in with two outs in the fourth inning. He closed out the frame and tossed a scoreless fifth with a strikeout, and was credited with the win.
Fennell was happy to have his family in Sacramento to see him pitch.
“They were in Boise when I got the call up,” Fennell said. “My girlfriend’s dad works in the airline industry, so luckily we were able to get them a flight out to Sacramento. I’m really glad that they were able to be there for such a big moment. I wouldn’t be here without all of their love and support over the years.”
Fennell was told the assignment would only be temporary, and that he’d likely be sent back down to Boise. But as of Thursday afternoon, he’s still with the Isotopes.
“My mentality is to just be ready whenever I’m called upon,” Fennell said. “Whether that’s here [in Albuquerque] or somewhere else. I realize I’m not one of the first options here, so I’m just waiting my turn. But for now I’m just thankful for this opportunity.”
UPDATE: Fennell was sent down to the Rockies' Class A-Advanced Affiliate, the Lancaster JetHawks, Thursday night.