Calgary hopeful eyes MLB promotion

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

It's a moment Greg Maddux likely doesn't remember, but one Emerson Frostad will never forget.

It's been almost two years since Frostad, a Calgary product climbing the ranks in the Texas Rangers system, ripped a double off the four-time Cy Young winner and sure-thing Hall-of-Famer in a spring training outing, but his voice still bubbles with enthusiasm as he recounts the tale.

"That was definitely a highlight," Frostad said. "(Maddux) tried to throw a fastball in and I hit a double down the right field line ... I don't even think I could feel my feet touching the ground. I was pretty jittery. It was pretty exciting."

The Western Canada graduate will arrive at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Ariz., today as pitchers and catchers officially report for spring training across the majors, although he's been hanging around the desert for more than a month to spend extra time in the batting cages and weight-room.

While the winter months give established stars a breather from the game that pays them millions, big-league hopefuls like Frostad know there's no such thing as an 'off-season.'

"I think I'm just lucky to have this opportunity, and if I were to waste it away, I wouldn't be able to live with myself down the road," he said. "There's definitely days where you're tired and don't feel like it, but you try to get motivated and you look at how far I've come and being able to be in the position I am -- playing minor-league baseball -- I think I'm very lucky to be where I'm at, so I definitely don't want to waste it."

Frostad celebrated his 26th birthday last month, but he's already banked several stories of the tell-your-grandkids variety, and embellishment won't be necessary.

Since winning back-to-back NAIA College World Series crowns with the Lewis-Clark State Warriors in Idaho, his professional career has included stints at every minor-league level, and at a slew of positions, no less. The first/third baseman-turned-catcher represented Canada in a junior national showdown with Team USA, at an Olympic qualifier in Cuba and at the '08 Summer Games in Beijing, where the Canadians settled for sixth.

What Frostad wants to add to his resume next is representing the Rangers on baseball's biggest stage. After batting .260 with six dingers in 93 outings for the Frisco RoughRiders last season in the AA ranks, Frostad is optimistic there's a spot up for grabs on the AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks.

"You know, the higher you go, the bigger it gets," Frostad said. "The atmosphere just gets so much better as you move up."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos