Conner Menez was on the golf course with his brother when he received a call from his manager Monday morning. Menez, who had just got called up to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes—the low-A ball team of the San Francisco Giants—didn’t know what to expect since his only start with the team was a rough one.
One thing is for certain: the 2013 San Benito High graduate certainly didn’t expect to earn a promotion to the high-A ball affiliate San Jose Giants. But that’s exactly why Volcanoes manger Kyle Haines called him.
“He told me I’d be moving up to San Jose because one of their starting pitchers got traded,” said Menez, who was selected in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball Draft June 11 “They thought I’d be the best starter from our team to be successful (in San Jose). I assumed I’d be there (Salem-Keizer) for the rest of the season, so it was quite a shock when he told me I was going to join the San Jose team. It’s been a pretty crazy summer.”
No kidding. After getting drafted by the Giants, Menez was placed in the Arizona Rookie League before getting transferred to the Volcanoes. Menez was in Salem for all of a week before earning another promotion.
Menez, who joins another former Balers great in Darrin Gillies at the high-A level—Gillies plays for Bakersfield—flew from Portland to San Francisco before getting a connecting flight to Bakersfield Monday night. Menez was thrown to work immediately, as he started Tuesday’s game against the Blaze. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound left-hander allowed five runs over 4 1/3 innings, with three strikeouts and two walks.
Menez said going from rookie ball to low-A was a different experience in that he was playing in front of larger crowds. Menez played in front of sparse crowds while at the Master’s College, a NAIA program. But he’s looking forward to the challenge of excelling at the high-A level.
“I’m not really sure what to expect,” he said. “I just know I’ve got to do my thing and go out there and throw strikes.”
Menez’s promotion was great news for his family and friends in Hollister, as it is only a 50-minute drive to the San Jose Giants ballpark. Menez said his younger brother, Caleb, a 2015 San Benito High graduate, was “pretty stoked for me.”
“A lot of them can come watch me throw,” Menez said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”