Club's No. 4 prospect on getting to big leagues: 'It feels like a dream'
By Joshua Needelman
NEW YORK -- For most of the Phillies in the Citi Field visitors' clubhouse, Friday afternoon was relatively ordinary. Some were dancing, some were belting out lyrics from popular songs, some were buried in their cell phones. One player even asked around for the date -- Aug. 26.
It's a date Jorge Alfaro won't soon forget. The Phillies' No. 4 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, was called up before Philadelphia's game against the Mets. That he's likely to be sent back down to Double-A Reading after the contest was of no consequence.
Less than four hours before the game, Alfaro leaned his right arm on a chair and looked around. His jersey hadn't been prepared yet; the ink on the press release announcing his callup had barely dried.
No matter. The 23-year-old from Colombia had made it.
"It feels like a dream, like a dream right now," Alfaro said. "When I was young, when I was a kid, this was like a big dream, you know? Where I come from, there's not a lot of baseball."
The callup came on the heels of the Phillies dealing fan-favorite catcher Carlos Ruiz to the Dodgers in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, Class A Advanced right-hander Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later.
"Ultimately, this was about doing the right thing for Carlos Ruiz, because he has meant so much to this organization," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said about the trade.
Ruiz's importance to the franchise isn't lost on Alfaro, who said he felt a "little sad," that "Chooch" was gone.
But he wasn't going to let that dim the excitement that his promotion brought. His parents, Jorge and Consuela, were visiting from Colombia and met him outside the clubhouse in Reading after he learned the news.
"I was almost crying," he said.
Ellis is expected to join the team Saturday, at which point Alfaro will probably be sent back down to the Minors. He was the only other catcher on the 40-man roster, and in 403 plate appearances with Reading this season, he's hit .279 with 18 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs and 61 RBIs.
He'll likely have the opportunity to add to those numbers in the near future. That wasn't on his mind Friday, though. Friday -- Aug. 26 -- will be remembered as the day he first got to live his dream.
"When I walked in through those doors earlier today, I felt like God gave me a blessing," Alfaro said.
Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.