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Bernard of the Rockies makes his MLB debut after a decade in the minors

DENVER — Wynton Bernard has his shot at the big leagues a decade after being drafted by the San Diego Padres.

The Colorado Rockies selected Bernard’s contract from Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday. He was listed seventh at bat and playing center field against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of a three-game series.

“It’s a special moment,” Bernard said. “After how many years I’ve been playing, I’m finally here. It’s unbelievable. I’m finally here.

Bernard, 31, was picked in the 35th round of the 2012 draft and spent three seasons in the Padres’ minor league system. He also played in the minors for Detroit, San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs as well as stints in the Mexican Winter League, Venezuelan Winter League and Independent Ball.

He also played for the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League.

Colorado manager Bud Black went to see Bernard and outfielder Connor Joe in the winter of 2020. He kicked off batting practice for both players and encouraged the Rockies to sign them.

“I made the recommendation to our front office to see if we can sign these guys,” Black said. “Our front office contacted their agents and they made deals.”

Joe made his Rockies debut in 2021 while Bernard has played for the Isotopes the past two seasons. He hit .254 with seven homers in 2021. This year his numbers are outstanding: .325 with 17 home runs, 24 doubles and 26 stolen bases.

In 10 minor league seasons, he hit .286 with 50 home runs and 226 stolen bases.

Bernard learned he was promoted before the Albuquerque game on Thursday. He celebrated with his teammates and shared the news with his mother over a video call.

“My mother’s emotions made me crack up even more. She has done so much,” he said. “The way I saw her taking care of my dad before he passed away, he was bedridden but she stayed by his side. I was like, ‘I know how hard she’s worked, so I’m going to work everything just as hard, if not harder.” Just seeing his reaction meant a lot.

The Rockies nominated pitcher Jordan Sheffield for the assignment. They also recalled receiver Dom Núñez and placed outfielder Yonathan Daza (dislocated left shoulder) and receiver Elias Díaz (sprained left wrist) on the 10-day disabled list.


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