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Goebbert makes it to majors, just not past on-deck circle yet

Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 9:30 p.m. CST

SAN DIEGO — A bright, white jersey with eight navy letters stitched on the back hung in the San Diego Padres’ clubhouse Thursday. It read: GOEBBERT      

Hampshire product Jake Goebbert was about to dress for his first major league game.

“I feel like I’m floating,” Goebbert said before the game. “Are my feet on the ground? I don’t know. It’s a great experience for me and something I’ll never forget.”

He joined the Padres after San Diego placed Yonder Alonso on the disabled list.

Goebbert did not play Thursday. He went to the on-deck circle as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, and the press box announcer initially mispronounced his last name, calling him Doebbert.

Goebbert, however, did not get to bat. He was called back to the dugout in favor of Chris Denorfia, who singled home the go-ahead run helping the Padres beat the Seattle Mariners 4-1.

“It’s part of the whole experience, and it might do me good to get the butterflies out,” Goebbert said. “I had my feet in the box.”

San Diego manager Bud Black expects to use Goebbert soon.

“He’ll play,” Black said. “He might play as early as this weekend. We will try to get him acclimated as quickly as possible.”

Goebbert learned after Wednesday night’s Triple-A game with El Paso in Iowa that the Padres called him to the major leagues. El Paso manager Pat Murphy scratched him from Wednesday’s lineup and did not tell him the real reason why.

“He played it off like I was going to be playing less,” Goebbert said. “I got mad, and we got into it a little bit – nothing serious.”

After Wednesday’s game, Murphy asked to meet Goebbert’s wife, Heather. Murphy told her, “Get a plane reservation for San Diego, because that’s where Jake’s playing tomorrow.”

Goebbert cried.

After 2,274 at bats and 645 minor league games in over five seasons, Goebbert earned his chance in the major leagues.

“I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given,” Goebbert said.

Heather did not make it for the game, but his parents, brother, an uncle and cousin attended.

Goebbert joined the Padres organization May 15 when the Oakland Athletics traded him. Since joining El Paso, Goebbert is hitting .270 with five home runs and 18 RBIs. He excelled in June hitting .321 with a .974 on-base percentage.

“I think it was my comfort level,” Goebbert said of his June success. “A trade is always a different thing. Meeting a new group of guys, just finding your niche with a new team always makes for a little bit of an adjustment.”

Now, Goebbert has a major league jersey to wear as he adjusts to this new team.

“I’m happy to represent Hampshire, and I’m proud of the fact I’ve come from a small town,” Goebbert said. “I appreciate all the support from the community that I’ve always gotten.”

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