It was all worth it to Zach Clark. The endless bus rides. The countless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as post-game meals. He finally made it.
Just over two months short of his 30th birthday, Clark pitched in a major league game on Wednesday night, allowing three runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings to the Seattle Mariners. He walked two and struck out one.
Signed by Orioles scout Dean Albany for just $1,000 after attending University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the undrafted free agent fulfilled the dreams of Rockys everywhere.
Called up by the Orioles a day before after they decided to send down Zach Britton, the odds are that Clark will be back with Norfolk this weekend when another starter is needed.
It will probably be Freddy Garcia, but that won’t be so bad. Clark got a shot at the majors, seven years and eight different Orioles farm clubs later. Placed on the 40-man roster last fall, his promotion wasn’t a total feel good story. He earned it.
Clark hopes to get a chance to pitch at home sometime this year so that his family and friends from nearby Newark, Del. can drive down I-95 and watch him.
Undrafted free agents rarely make the major leagues. Lots of first-round draft choices never do, but Zach Clark did at last.