SAN DIEGO -- Dusty Coleman's first cup of coffee consisted of five hitless at-bats for the Royals in 2015. His second is tasting sweeter already.
At 30 years old, Coleman is both a journeyman and a rookie. And on Thursday night -- after nine long seasons in the Minors -- Coleman launched his first career big league home run, the decisive moment in the Padres' 7-5 win over the Mets.
"You always dream of hitting a home run in the big leagues," a wide-eyed Coleman said afterward. "With a couple guys on, in that situation, it's pretty cool."
When Coleman was demoted by the Royals in July 2015, there was no guarantee he'd get another chance to play in the Majors. Those four games (which earned him a World Series ring) seemed destined to be the highlight of Coleman's career.
Even a ballplayer as ebullient as Coleman questioned whether he'd get another shot.
"You always have those thoughts in the back of your mind," Coleman said. "I've always tried to focus on the moment. As long as somebody was going to give me an opportunity to put a jersey on, provide for my family, I was going to keep going."
San Diego gave Coleman that opportunity. When Erick Aybar was placed on the disabled list with a foot fracture, Coleman got the call -- precisely two years after his demotion by Kansas City.
He's rewarding the Padres' faith thus far, with three hits in his first eight at-bats.
"That's a lifetime of dreams right there in that one moment," manager Andy Green said of Coleman's first homer. "You love seeing guys that grind so hard their entire life that have moments like that."
Added Coleman: "I'm trying to just enjoy the moment right now. In my down time, I've been able to reflect a little on the long journey that it's been, some of the tough times and some of the good times. But I was really just trying to stay in the moment here, and do what I can to help these guys win."