Augusta GreenJackets center fielder Jesus Galindo experienced a taste of the big league life Sunday when he stepped into the batter’s box at Citi Field in New York.
Galindo soaked in the life of a major leaguer by dressing in a big league clubhouse, talking baseball with current and former big leaguers, and manning the same center field that was once home to Carlos Beltran.
The nerves washed away once he stepped on the field, and he worked a full count before laying off a curve ball for a walk in the seventh inning.
Galindo went 0 for 1 with a walk for the World Team in the Futures Game, an event for many of the top prospects that signaled the beginning of the All-Star festivities.
“It was a great experience,” Galindo said through an interpreter. “There were a lot of good players there. It’s a good place to play, a good stadium. Everything was fun.”
The Venezuelan, who is hitting .273 with 43 stolen bases for the GreenJackets this season, made his first appearance in the seventh inning against Milwaukee Brewers prospect Jimmy Nelson. After walking, he was forced out at second base as part of a double play.
With the tying run on first and two outs in the ninth, Galindo worked a 2-2 count against Washington Nationals prospect A.J. Cole before getting jammed into a groundout to second base to end the game.
“I focused a lot when I faced those guys,” he said. “I know I was facing guys higher up than me with more experience, so I saw guys on the mound who are comfortable and know what they’re doing. That was good experience to play with guys who might have more experience.”
Galindo took over in center field for Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Gregory Polanco in the seventh inning and played the final three frames. He was sporting Giants orange-striped socks with bright blue cleats to match a blue World jersey, which resulted in a chuckle from the speedy center fielder when mentioned afterward. He said Under Armour made the shoes especially for him and a couple other players on the World Team.
Galindo said Futures Game participants were given the opportunity to interact with current and former major leaguers before and after the game. He talked baseball with World Team manager and fellow Venezuelan Edgardo Alfonzo, who played 12 years in the majors with the Mets, Giants, Angels and Blue Jays.
Galindo made the team as a replacement for St. Louis Cardinals prospect Oscar Tavares, who has missed much of the season with a high ankle sprain. Galindo has gotten on base at a higher clip in his second season in Augusta, recording a .345 on-base percentage that has sparked an increase in stolen bases.
“He’s that kind of player who plays hard every day,” GreenJackets hitting coach Hector Borg said. “He’s that kind of guy you’re going to see in the future sometime in the big leagues if he keeps working like that.”