ADAMS TWP — Talk about locked in.
When Mars graduate David Bednar took the mound in San Francisco to pitch the ninth inning for the San Diego Padres in his major league debut Sept. 1, he took a deep breath, took the ball from his catcher and went to work.
“I did pause for a second, just looked around ... I wanted to take in the moment,” he said. “Then it was all business.”
Being a 35th-round draft pick only three years ago and making it to the major leagues without throwing a pitch at the Class AAA level didn't matter much to Bednar.
He doesn't even remember the name of the first batter he faced in the big leagues.
“I honestly don't,” Bednar said. “I do remember getting him out. That was the important thing.
“I've always had confidence in my abilities. Where and when I got drafted didn't mean anything. It's all about progression and getting better at my craft.
“A couple of other guys from my Class AA (Amarillo) team got called up with me. It's not all that uncommon, really,” he added.
Bednar, 25, got a lot of people out at Amarillo before doing likewise with the Padres.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound right-hander was 2-5 with a 2.95 earned run average in Class AA. He allowed just 49 hits in 58 innings, striking out 86 and walking only 18.
Through his first 11 appearances with San Diego, Bednar carried a 1.93 ERA and had 14 strikeouts in 9.1 innings pitched.
He was hit hard during a couple of appearances to close out the season. Bednar allowed four home runs in 58 minor league innings, three long balls in 11 innings at the major league level.
“You can't get away with mistakes up there,” he said of the major leagues. “Those (big league) hitters hit them — they hit them hard.
“But I never felt overwhelmed. I never thought of how good the hitters were I was facing, whether they've been in the league for a long time or if I saw them play when I was a kid ... Once you think that way, you won't succeed.”
He said the veteran Padre players and coaches were extremely welcoming upon his arrival.
“It was such a whirlwind that weekend,” Bednar said. “I pitched for Amarillo Friday night, got word Saturday I was getting called up and had to catch a 6 a.m. flight Sunday.
“I got to San Francisco maybe two hours before the game and wound up pitching that day. I was on two or three hours sleep. The adrenalin was there.”