'Pretty surreal': Hentges to face local Twins

June 26th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS – Growing up 20 minutes from Target Field in Shoreview, Minn., it was nearly impossible for lefty to not picture the moment he’s going to experience on Saturday.

“I think it was probably every time I would go to a game,” Hentges said. “I went to quite a few as a kid.”

He pictured the dream: taking the field as a big leaguer in downtown Minneapolis. He got a taste of what that could be like back in 2014, when he was given the opportunity to toe the rubber at Target Field for the state championship in high school. The moment was far from too big for him, as he tossed a shutout with eight strikeouts.

“It was awesome,” Hentges said, reminiscing. “I mean it’s something that I’ll never forget. … I have pitched here before, but now pitching again here will be even cooler.”

Hentges said his focus will be to get a good night’s sleep heading into his start on Saturday and attempt to view it as any other start. The stands will be filled with friends and family, as 35 of his loved ones worked their way onto his guest pass list and handfuls of others have been texting him, informing him they bought tickets to be in attendance.

“Yeah, I’ve been trying to take it day-by-day since I’ve been called up,” Hentges said, “but now that it’s here, it’s very exciting for myself and my family and everyone involved.”

The 24-year-old lefty grew up idolizing players like Torii Hunter and Johan Santana. He was committed to the University of Arkansas before the Indians selected him in the fourth round (128th overall) in the 2014 MLB Draft. It was then he determined to take the first steps in chasing his dreams. And now that he’s officially a big leaguer, he’ll be able to live out his fantasy of playing in front of friends and family at Target Field on Saturday.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the big leagues,” Hentges said, “and now here I am, facing the Twins, the team I rooted for growing up. It’s pretty surreal.”

Indians ink Peacock
As the Indians continue to work through more and more pitching injuries, the team added some extra depth to its Triple-A Columbus roster by signing free agent righty to a Minor League deal. The 33-year-old has spent nearly his entire career with the Astros, posting a 4.01 ERA in 181 games (83 starts). In Houston’s World Series run in 2017, he owned a 13-2 record with a 3.00 ERA in 34 games (21 starts). Last season, he was limited to just three relief appearances over 2 1/3 frames due to a couple of stints on the injured list for right shoulder inflammation.