CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Considering Chris Coste's long and arduous journey to the big leagues, the Phillies catcher showed no outward celebration. None was necessary, or appropriate. Inside his 35-year-old head, Coste exchanged multiple high-fives amid the news that catchers Jason Jaramillo and Pete Laforest were sent to the Minor League complex, leaving two catchers in camp: Coste and Carlos Ruiz.
After 13 seasons of Minor League bus rides, independent leagues and being a yo-yo at the Major League level, Coste is poised to see his first Opening Day in the show. "I noticed it," Coste said. "I knew I was in a good situation going in, but as good as your situation is one day, it can change the next. I know that if I'm struggling and Jaramillo is doing well at Triple-A, I could easily find myself back in Triple-A. My situation can only change for the worse." Always the realist, Coste said the biggest pressure is to "make sure I don't get hurt and do well enough to make sure I'm here Opening Day." Coste's euphoria comes at a good time in his life, and ironically happened with outfielder David Dellucci visiting Clearwater with the Indians on Monday. Dellucci was acquired by the Phillies from the Rangers on the eve of Opening Day 2006, sending Coste to the Minors, though he was recalled in late May and batted .328 in 198 at-bats. But you know that story, and you know about 2007, when an injury forced Coste to miss Opening Day, then he was optioned to Double-A to allow him to catch regularly. He popped back to the Major Leagues, and appears to have proven that he belongs. On Tuesday, his autobiography, "The 33-Year-Old Rookie" is released by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Coste will host an informal book signing on Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET at Barnes and Noble on Route 19 in Clearwater, then host a second autograph session at Bright House Field on Saturday. His favorite chapter is the one that explains the emotional roller-coaster of the 2006 Spring Training, when he played well enough to make the team, if not for the Dellucci acquisition. But obviously, that's all in the past, and the book on a shelf is proof. "That will be the final moment," Coste said. "When I finished the manuscript, that was a big moment. Receiving the first copy was a huge moment. Seeing it on a shelf will be the biggest moment." And then? "Seeing my name on the USA Today best-seller list," he said. "That would be a big moment." Coste isn't the only one proud of his work. Phils reliever Clay Condrey lived has lived with Coste for the past three years and saw the writing process first hand. "There's been times with a glass of wine and a piece of pizza, talking about moves that have been made and haven't been made," Condrey said. "I'm 30 pages in and it's pretty good. We lived together for three years and I'm on two pages." But seriously. "It couldn't have happened to a better person," Condrey said. "He spent so many years [in the Minors], for him to put me on two pages was more than I could've asked for. I almost cried." Condrey said he may write a book, as well. "I'll write a cookbook," he said, smiling. "I can cook good, too."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.