It's been a big week for geologically-named rookie ballplayers. Just days after Rocky Gale hit his first big league dinger, Zack Granite did the same with the Twins during Saturday's 10-4 win against the Tigers.
But Granite's home run wasn't exactly routine. Sure, he hit his first dinger in the top of the eighth, but he had also entered the game in the same half-inning ... as a pinch-runner for Joe Mauer.
After Mauer singled and moved up to second following a single from Jorge Polanco, Granite entered the game. He came around to score on Eddie Rosario's single and then a single, hit-by-pitch, lineout, groundout and walk later, Granite was at the plate in Mauer's spot in the order. He then swung the bat like prime Mauer and drove the ball deep into the night for his first career homer:
Granite was the first Twins player to ever record his first home run after entering as a pinch-runner, and is the first in the Majors since Darren Lewis pulled it off in 2001 with the Red Sox.
"It was pretty cool," Granite said after the game. "Actually, the umpire said, 'I thought Joe Mauer was up.' And I joked back that I look a little different than him. So it was really cool. I wasn't expecting that."
"It was two strikes so I was honestly looking for a pitch to put the barrel to the ball," Granite added. "It went a little further than I thought."
He nearly didn't get to come to the plate, though. "I thought about hitting for him," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I had options for right-handed bats there. But then he hits a homer. That was a little bit of a surprise. He hasn't played a lot. He's had a couple walks the last few weeks when he's got up there. Just enough."