Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Jonny DeLuca is set to become the fourth player to make his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City as the corresponding move to Trayce Thompson going on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain.
DeLuca, the Dodgers’ No. 20 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, began the 2023 season with Double-A Tulsa and recently earned a promotion to OKC, where he appeared in 16 games before making the jump to the big leagues.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” DeLuca said of being called up to the Dodgers. “Travis (Barbary) was talking about taking an off day and pinch-hitting, so I thought he was going to talk to me about that.
“But he ended up saying, ‘You’re not going to pinch-hit here. You’re going to the big leagues.’ It was pretty cool.”
The Dodgers added DeLuca to their 40-man roster during the offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, which the 24-year-old appreciated. “That was huge for me,” DeLuca began.
“Them showing me some love, being a 25th-rounder, that doesn’t happen as often. Obviously it’s a great feeling that they see that I’m working. My stats last year were pretty good, so I’m just trying to keep improving every day.”
DeLuca grew up in Thousand Oaks, California, and attended Dodgers games as a kid. “This was obviously the home team, and I remember watching Kershaw pitch when he was 20, 21 years old,” DeLuca recalled.
“I was in the stands. Growing up watching Dodger games, being a fan, this is obviously pretty special.”
Jonny DeLuca admires Clayton Kershaw
Further highlighting the moment of joining the Dodgers roster, DeLuca was first greeted by Kershaw in the clubhouse at Dodger Stadium on Sunday morning.
“He’s a legend,” DeLuca said. “I was never a pitcher, but Kershaw is Kershaw. He’s an incredible person, an incredible human. I loved talking to him in Spring Training. He’s been a good role model and good guy to look up to.”
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