SARASOTA, Fla. –- Nearly seven years after he was first drafted, Ashur Tolliver is finally in his first spring training with the Orioles.
The 28-year-old left-hander, who was drafted in the fifth round in 2009, is a non-roster invitee to spring training. He never thought that he’d finally get an invitation to major league spring training in 2016.
“It wouldn’t have been exactly how I scripted it coming out of the draft with some of the injuries and setbacks, but I’m really thankful to still be an Oriole. I like the players here. I like the coaches. The organization has stuck with me through a lot of ups and downs,” Tolliver said.
Tolliver pitched a scoreless eighth inning on Friday against Toronto.
It took Tolliver five years to even make Double-A, and last year, his second year in Bowie, he was 1-2 with a 2.59 ERA.
“You just have to stick with the process and trust that what you’re doing is ultimately going to get you where you’re going. I’m thankful the Orioles still stuck with me. I’m really grateful to still be here. I was a free agent after last year, and I knew they wanted me back, and I was glad about that,” Tolliver said.
“It’s been tough sometimes with the injuries and stuff. I’m glad they stuck with me because they know what I’m capable of.”
The 2009 draft wasn’t a strong one for the Orioles. Mychal Givens was the first member of that class to make the majors, and it took him six years.
Givens’ recall from Bowie excited Tolliver.
“I remember getting to the field, his locker was empty. Where’s Givens?” Tolliver said.
The two had been minor league roommates and close friends. On the night Givens was recalled, Bowie’s game ended early, and the Baysox retreated to their clubhouse and watched his major league debut on television.
“I recorded it and sent it to him along with 100 other people,” Tolliver said.
Tolliver hasn’t pitched in Triple-A, and he hopes to do that and become the second member of the 2009 class to make the majors.
“We’re kind of running thin. Hopefully a few of us can make it,” Tolliver said.