Earning the call to the major leagues is the ultimate goal for any baseball player from the first time they swung at a tee.
For Napoleon graduate Art Warren, that goal has been realized.
The former Wildcat standout and current minor league prospect has been called up to the Seattle Mariners’ roster as part of the team’s September 40-man roster expansion.
Warren was 2-1 in 29 relief appearances for Arkansas this season, tallying a 2-1 record and 15 saves in 17 chances. Warren struck out 15
Warren, 26, has overcome plenty in his four-year stint in the minors, battling injury and a switch to the bullpen before starring at the Double-A level the past two years with the Arkansas Travelers.
“It makes all the hours put into rehabbing or working to prevent further injuries worth it,” said Warren. “More importantly, the investments my family made into my career to help is truly something special.
“The people in my corner have done so much for me that goes unnoticed in terms of helping me pay for recovery treatment or going to see (independent coach/trainer) Eric Cressey in Florida, helping me with expenses when I lived in Phoenix in the offseason of 2016-17. They get a sense of accomplishment as well.”
The 6-3 fireballer was placed on the injured list twice this season, missing time from April 29-June 8 before a groin strain held him out from Aug. 21 until Thursday, when he was activated for Game 2 of the Travelers’ playoff series.
Warren pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a loss for Arkansas but helped keep the Travelers’ season alive two days later on Saturday, earning the save with another scoreless ninth.
“I had motivation to get back for my team in the playoffs and get as many outs as I could for them,” said Warren of the opportunity to finish out the Travelers’ season. “I had no idea that I was going to the big leagues after our season. The return was a challenging process as I went from not being able to pick up my leg to pitching 17 days later. I trusted God had a plan for me and I stayed positive.
“He’s blessed me with an amazing opportunity to achieve my dreams after a roller coaster year.”
The new Mariner reliever is likely to see time in his call-up as Seattle begins a three-game home series against the Cincinnati Reds today. Warren was invited to the major league squad’s spring training in 2018 but injuries through that season held him back from an invite this year.
The 26th-ranked prospect in the Mariners’ system is joined in the call-up by fellow prospects Kyle Lewis, Donnie Walton and Justin Dunn.
The Pacific Northwest has formed somewhat of a connection with the northwest portion of Ohio as Defiance graduate Jon Niese pitched for the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, Wash., while Bryan grad Matt Wisler was traded to the Seattle Mariners on July 4.
“It’s an honor,” added Warren. “I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be in that company. Obviously, growing up you always hear about the guys in our area that have made it to the big leagues and you wonder what it would be like to be one of those guys. I get a chance to say I’m one of those guys now.”