“Bro, have you ever been to Salem?” the primary baseman requested in late June, sitting within the dugout at Frontier Area in Rochester. “I used to be there some time again; we had been the street workforce. One in all my teammates begins telling me about witches and this scary film. I’m identical to, ‘Nah man, no thanks.’ ”
Meneses’s teammate would have been referring to Salem, Mass. Seems they had been in Salem, Va., slightly city close to Roanoke. Meneses has spent a decade in affiliated baseball, so the video games and tales run collectively in his head. However proper now, because the calendar churns towards the MLB commerce deadline, there’s purpose to consider it might all be price it.
If the Washington Nationals deal Josh Bell within the coming days, Meneses might get the decision up from the Class AAA Rochester Purple Wings. He’s the group’s most rational substitute at first base. He first signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves in 2011. He then entered Saturday with a .292 batting common, a .346 on-base share, a .499 slugging share and 19 homers in 88 video games. So even fascinated about debuting — about telling his mother, dad and brothers he did it — made Meneses bend his neck backward, blinking by way of tears.
“I’m an individual, I’m a human, and generally this has been actually powerful,” Meneses mentioned. “I imply, I’m removed from my household and making an attempt to make my dream come true. How can I say this? Typically I’ll assume: ‘What am I doing right here? I’m shedding time.’ Or like, ‘Why did I select this?’ However in a day or two, I’ll come again and preserve working to get there.”
Taking part in within the Braves’ system, Meneses acquired caught behind Freddie Freeman. With the Philadelphia Phillies, it was Rhys Hoskins blocking his path. Meneses’s response, although, was to go wherever there was a baseball recreation. On the finish of every lengthy season, he went straight into the Mexican League. He joined Mexico’s Caribbean Sequence workforce in 2015, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
He made the nationwide workforce for the Olympics in Japan. He had already been there, in fact, for 118 plate appearances for the Orix Buffaloes. His rationale was that 118 possibilities had been much more than zero.
“Occasionally, a humorous factor occurs in Triple-A,” mentioned Matthew LeCroy, the Purple Wings’ supervisor. “Everybody right here has the identical purpose, proper? They wish to go away and be within the present. However with a man like Joey, everybody can also be rooting for him to make it. The fellows know what he has put in and wish him to be rewarded. It takes a particular particular person on your teammates to essentially, genuinely need that for you.”
Ought to Bell get moved, the Nationals have Meneses, utility man Jake Noll or John Nogowski, who has some main league expertise and is at the moment with the Class AA Harrisburg Senators. Catcher Riley Adams, an alternative choice, was sidelined for many of July with a hand harm after the Nationals despatched him all the way down to Rochester. And Meneses is hitting the most effective of the group, highlighted by his spike in energy. He has topped 20 homers in solely one in all his minor league seasons. This yr, he had 11 at the end of the May.
Brian Daubach, the Purple Wings’ hitting coach, has helped Meneses flip sharp grounders into line drives, then line drives into balls that land over the fence. Prior to now, Meneses was “too jumpy on the plate,” as he put it, lunging at breaking balls and limiting onerous contact. Staying again has gone a protracted, good distance towards making constantly strong outcomes pop extra. Possibly subsequent it should take him to Washington.
“That might imply all the pieces,” Meneses mentioned. “That’s been all the pieces to me since I used to be slightly child.”