The ultimate goal for every Minor Leaguer is to reach the Major Leagues. Every Friday, MiLB.com's new series, Movin' On Up, will take a look at prospects who have reached that goal and made their big-league debut during the week.
Adam Russell, RHP, Chicago White Sox
All things come to those who wait. Some just have to wait a little bit longer. At least that was the case this week for a pair of relievers, Chicago White Sox right hander Adam Russell and Boston Red Sox right hander Chris Smith.
For Russell, the long wait came to an end on June 17. For Smith, well, the wait continues.
Both relievers were called up from the Minors for the second time this season. And both had spent their first promotions watching from the wings for a few days before being sent back to Triple-A without having gotten into a game.
In the case of Russell, a 6-foot-8 right hander, he'd been summoned from Triple-A Charlotte originally at the beginning of May when the club had a three-game road trip to Toronto. Cuban émigré infielder Alexei Ramirez could not make the trip due to concerns about his visa and so the team brought up Russell to bolster the bullpen in case he was needed.
He wasn't, so he got to soak in the big league lifestyle in beautiful and cosmopolitan Toronto before heading back to North Carolina on May 5. In his time with the Knights this season, the 2004 sixth-round pick has posted a 1.74 ERA in 31 games and that fine showing got him recalled once again on June 13 when pitcher Esteban Loiaza went on the DL.
This time, Russell got some action, making his debut on June 17 in the Sox 16-5 rout of Pittsburgh. The last of four pitchers, he needed just 11 pitches to retire the side, striking out one in a perfect frame.
Smith still waits.
A fourth-round pick in 2002 out of Cal-Riverside, he was a highly-regarded prospect who broke his arm in an offseason dunebuggy accident which set his climb through the ranks back a bit.
Now 27, was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket May 18 before going back down two nights later without having gotten into a game. He was promoted yet again on June 17 when Bartolo Colon went on the DL, thanks to a 1.52 ERA in 22 games as he's gone 8-for-8 in save opportunities, walking just seven in 41 1/3 innings while striking out 40.
Doug Bernier, SS, Colorado Rockies
CALLED UP: Contract purchased from Triple-A Colorado Springs on June 17 when catcher Edwin Bellorin was sent down.
DEBUT: June 17 in a 10-2 win against Cleveland. A late defensive replacement at second base, he did not come to bat.
NOTES: This move may have seemed an odd one, but it actually makes sense. With shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and second baseman Clint Barmes still making their respective rehab stints, the Rockies were still forced to send down shortstop Jonathan Herrera two days earlier to make room for Bellorin, who filled in with catcher Yorvit Torrealba serving a two-game suspension. Once Torrealba returned, they had to bring up a middle infielder and Herrera was not eligible since it wasn't an injury move. That meant a surprise call for the 27-year-old Bernier -- who was hitting .225 with the SkySox but could also play all four infield positions in a pinch -- as the team awaits the reunification of its infield. A non-drafted free agent signed out of Oral Roberts in 2002, the switch-hitter could be up long enough to celebrate his 28th birthday in the big leagues next week. He hit .310 at Colorado Springs in part-time play in 2007.
Eddie Bonine, RHP, Detroit Tigers
CALLED UP: Contract purchased from Triple-A Toledo on June 13 when reliever Clay Rapada was sent down.
DEBUT: A 12-7 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 14. The starting pitcher, he earned the win as he allowed six runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, including a two-run homer to Andre Ethier in the sixth. He did not walk a batter and struck out two.
NOTES: The 27-year-old joined the team from Toledo to take the rotation spot of former National League Rookie of the Year Dontrelle Willis while the southpaw tries to regain lost command at Class A Lakeland. A control artist who has walked just 38 batters in 229 innings since the beginning of 2007, Bonine continued to show that ability to spot the ball in his debut. He has also gone 24-7 in that time between Double-A Erie in 2007 and Toledo in '08, and owned a share of the International League lead with nine wins when promoted.
Charlie Morton, RHP, Atlanta Braves
CALLED UP: Recalled from Triple-A Richmond on June 14 when reliever Rafael Soriano went on the DL.
DEBUT: A 9-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels on June 14. The starting pitcher, he earned the win with six innings of five-hit ball, allowing three runs and walking one while fanning four.
NOTES: Morton, a third-round pick in 2002, gives the Braves another boost of a look at the future as he moves into the club's rotation with veteran Tom Glavine on the DL. After never having posted an ERA below 4.00 in his first few seasons, Morton has been nothing short of brilliant to open 2008 at Richmond, going 5-2 with a 2.05 ERA and a .181 average against him there. That came after an impressive Arizona Fall League campaign where he posted a 2.57 ERA for the Peoria Javelinas. In his last start there, he tossed five innings of no-hit ball, fortuitously with Atlanta manager Bobby Cox watching from the stands. His repertoire includes a fastball in the low-mid 90s, a 12-6 curveball and a changeup, all with good life on them. Morton's arrival with Atlanta came across country in Anaheim and it was not without its bumps. After watching flight after flight out of Richmond get canceled, he finally traveled up I-95 two hours to Washington D.C. where he caught a plane to California, arriving in the middle of the night before his debut.
Carlos Rosa, RHP, Kansas City Royals
CALLED UP: Recalled from Triple-A Omaha on June 12 when pitcher Brett Tomko was designated for assignment.
DEBUT: A 12-3 win against Arizona on June 14. The last of three pitchers, he needed just 12 pitches to retire the side in a perfect inning, striking out one batter.
NOTES: The 23-year-old with the explosive fastball caps a comeback from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery that cost him all of the 2005 season. A starter in the Minors, where he posted a 1.20 ERA at Double-A Northwest Arkansas to start '08 and followed up with a 3.96 ERA in five starts at Omaha, he will work out of the Royals bullpen for the time being at least. He also throws a slider and changeup.
Leo Rosales, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
CALLED UP: Recalled from Triple-A Tucson on June 15 when reliever Billy Bucker was sent down.
DEBUT: June 15 in an 8-3 loss to Kansas City. The third of four pitchers, he allowed one run on four hits in 1 2/3 innings, walking two (one intentionally) and striking out two.
NOTES: An overworked Arizona bullpen led to several roster shuffling moves in the last week, one of which was the promotion of the 27-year-old Rosales. Originally a 20th-round pick in 2003 out of Cal State-Northridge, he was acquired last summer for outfielder Scott Hairston. With Tucson, Rosales had posted a 4.08 ERA in 28 games, going a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities. His changeup is his out pitch, and he brought a 2.54 career ERA over five pro seasons into the 2008 campaign.
Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.