Former Kansas State baseball player Nick Martini’s hard work has paid off in his call-up this week to the Oakland Athletics.
As the Athletics prepared to take on the Royals for a series starting Thursday, Oakland outfielder Matt Joyce was diagnosed with a lumbar strain. Once he was placed on the 10-day disabled list, Martini got the news: He was up to bat.
Since Martini’s departure from the Wildcats in 2011, the 27-year-old outfielder been looking for a break into the big leagues. After bouncing around with some minor-league teams, he joined the Class AAA Nashville Sounds earlier this year.
Having watched him since day one, Brian Smoller, senior director of broadcast services for K-State athletics, was excited to hear about Martini's career advancement.
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“All credit to Nick for sticking with it," he said. "You’re just happy for a guy that has put in so much work all these years in a nonglamorous life.
"He was just a guy that could hit, with a great swing on the left side. I remember that he arrived in 2009 on a talented team. … He held his own.”
Smoller reflected on what Martini was in Manhattan, Kan., and where he is now: a .299 hitter in Nashville who brings a 12-game hitting streak to the Bay Area.
“I’ve followed his numbers while he was in the minors,” Smoller said. “He was not a guy that needed to be a star from day one. He knew that it’s the time that gets you there.”