Delmonico collects hit in first career game

Delmonico collects hit in first career game

CHICAGO -- Nicky Delmonico's first phone call as a Major Leaguer went unanswered. His mother, Barbara, didn't pick up the phone, so Delmonico called his brother instead.

The news, which interrupted Delmonico's television-watching during Triple-A Charlotte's day off, left him beaming: The White Sox had promoted him to the big leagues.

"There were some tears," said Delmonico, who was fifth in the lineup and playing left field on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field. "Those phone calls, I've dreamt about them but I can't even put words to them. It was my mom at first, but I didn't get her on the phone. So I called my brother and got him on the phone. Then, from there, it was my mom, it was my other brother and my dad.

"It's awesome. To be right in the middle and go out there, play my first game in front of my whole family. They're all here tonight so it's going to be special."

He got a rude welcome to the Majors in Tuesday's 8-4 loss to Toronto, whiffing on a wipeout Marcus Stroman slider to go down on three pitches in his first career at-bat. After a pair of sharply-hit grounders, it was a blooper off the end of the bat that fell in for his first big league hit.

"It was a dream come true," Delmonico said with a grin as the ball sat in his locker. "It was definitely awesome to do it in the first game, in front of my family. It was special."

Delmonico, who had briefly graced the White Sox top 30 prospects list according to MLB Pipeline, hit .262 with 12 homers, 45 RBIs and a .768 OPS in 99 games with Charlotte. He was promoted as the White Sox placed outfielder Willy Garcia on the seven-day concussion DL following a collision with second baseman Yoan Moncada in the sixth inning of Monday's 7-6 win.

Moncada collides with W. Garcia

Delmonico, typically a corner infielder, has worked to be flexible to increase his chances of a callup. The natural third baseman worked in the outfield at least one game each series with Charlotte, developing under the mentorship of former outfielder Aaron Rowand, now a Minor League instructor.

"Nicky is a pretty energetic kid and full of energy," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "I think he's excited about trying to do anything he can to put himself in the conversation of being a part of a Major League ballclub."

Stormy weather nearly interrupted Delmonico's big league debut at Guaranteed Rate Field, leaving the 25-year-old to claim, "I thought I was going to die" while he was out for early outfield work. It was the least of the obstacles he's overcome in his pro career.

Delmonico was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 Draft, but found himself dealt as the lone prospect in a deal where the Orioles received Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez in 2013. His tenure with the organization went sour, with a 50-game suspension for Adderall and his eventual release in 2014.

White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell and former Chicago farm director Nick Capra came calling. Upon arriving in Chicago on Tuesday, Delmonico made sure to stop in Bell's office. He'll be around Capra as well -- the former farm director now serves as the club's third-base coach.

"It kind of flashes before your eyes, everything that you've done to get here," Delmonico said. "It was special to see that and how happy they are for me. For me to come a long way to be here, it was special."

"I think he's one of those kids, he's worked through a lot of adversity and he's kind of the type of player that we want," Renteria said. "I've said it before, I think you can kind of count the 'it' factor. He's probably going to be a movie star after he finishes playing baseball, doing whatever he wants to do."

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.