Menez makes spot start at Triple-A

Former Balers standout Connor Menez made a spot start for the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento last week. Submitted photo.

Connor Menez was a member of the Sacramento Rivercats, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants—for one day, but it was an experience he’ll use for the future. The San Benito High graduate and Hollister native takes things one step a time, an approach that has worked well ever since he was selected by the Giants in the 14th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.

Menez made his Triple-A debut last Thursday, allowing three runs over four innings to take the loss. After a rough first inning, Menez settled down nicely and even contributed offensively, driving in a run with a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the second inning to make it 3-3 (the Rivercats fell to the Reno Aces, 5-4).

Hours later, Menez was reassigned back to San Jose, the Giants’ High-A ball affiliate. Menez’s spot start in Sacramento capped off a crazy week, as the announcement of his call-up to Sacramento came out of left field. The 22-year-old received a call from Mike Mombrea—who is the director of employee assistant program—at around 1:30 p.m. last Wednesday.

“I received this anonymous number from San Francisco, and thought to myself, ‘Well, I better answer it,’” Menez said. “Mike said, ‘Hey, you’re going to Triple-A. They didn’t say when; they just told me they would send me all the information later. I don’t think my (San Jose Giants) manager knew yet. Once I got to the field, the manager called me in and said, ‘Congrats, you’re going to Triple-A. I hope I don’t see you again.’ I didn’t get much information other than that. It was pretty cool.”

Menez’s Triple-A debut was his second start of the season, with the first coming with San Jose. In his season debut, Menez allowed just three hits and struck out seven over five dominating innings. Menez said he doesn’t expect to receive a call-up to the majors this season; however, he knows what will get him there.

“My mindset is making sure all of my pitches are working and I get ahead of batters,” he said. “Just doing really what I’ve been doing my whole life. I’ve got to accept my role.”

Menez doesn’t overpower batters with a high 90 mph fastball; rather, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound left-hander throws a 90-92 mph fastball with a darting changeup and wicked slider. Menez’s ability to change speeds, locate his pitches and effectively think through situations has gotten him this far.

“I want to get guys off balance, and it’s all about throwing strikes and not coming off that mindset,” he said.

It was a dream come true when Menez got drafted and then promoted a year later to San Jose. Although Menez’s experience in Sacramento was a rather short one, he’ll use the experience as he continues his quest to make the majors.

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