BY DREW CHAMPLIN | email@example.com
Late Thursday night, it still hadn’t hit Clint Robinson that he was a Major League baseball player.
The former Troy and Northview standout was informed late Wednesday night that he would be promoted from AAA Omaha, where he hit .322 over the last two years, to the Kansas City Royals, the organization that drafted him in 2007.
Robinson, a first baseman, arrived in Pittsburgh Thursday. His wife Samantha was en route from Kansas City. His mom, stepdad and brother are scheduled to fly from Dothan Friday, and his father is supposed to fly in from St. Louis Friday.
The Royals begin a three-game series against the Pirates at 6:05 p.m. Friday.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet, because I’m so comfortable with this group of guys,” Robinson said. “These are guys I’ve played with my whole career and been to two big league camps with. I’m sure when I first put on the uniform and walk down the tunnel to take batting practice, then it’ll hit me.
This year, Robinson was hitting .314 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs. Last year in Omaha, he hit .326 with 23 homers and 100 RBIs, earning midseason and postseason all-star honors. He won the Texas League Triple Crown in 2010 with AA Northwest Arkansas, hitting .335 with 29 home runs and 98 RBIs.
“This is a great day especially for Clint but also for our program,” Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said. “It’s an exciting time to see a former player get his opportunity at the next level.”
This is the first player to reach the big leagues since Pierce and assistant Mark Smartt took over at Troy before the 2003 season. The last Trojan to reach the majors was catcher Mike Rivera, who has played for five major league clubs from 2001-2011.
“The main thing for all of us here is how deserving he is because of the work he’s put in and the success he’s had,” Pierce said. “He’s had a tremendous minor league career and we’re so happy for him. Now he’s getting the best reward you could possibly get.”
Robinson got his first rookie initiation to the big leagues on the team’s bus. He said outfielder Jeff Francoeur made him sing a song, and he picked the theme song to the television show The Big Bang Theory .
“I told my wife I was going to pick the wimpiest song I could think of,” Robinson said.
Robinson said he wasn’t sure what his role would be. Speculation around the internet was that the Royals were calling him up to be a left-handed bat off the bench for some upcoming interleague games.
Nine of the Royals’ next 12 games will be at National League ballparks, eliminating the use of a designated hitter but also calling for pinch-hit opportunities late in games.
“If they need me to provide something off the bench, that’s fine with me,” Robinson said.
Robinson played for Northview and Dothan Post 12, graduating in 2003. He started for four years at Troy, breaking the hits record in 2007 although it was later broken by Adam Bryant.
Now, after six seasons in the minor leagues, he’s reached his ultimate goal.
“I’m going to go out and try to slow it down and drink it all in,” Robinson said. “I’ll enjoy it for what it is, which is a lifelong dream being realized. I’m not going to do anything all crazy or get too riled up. It’s a lifelong dream being fulfilled.”