ADAMS TWP — It's official. David Bednar is coming home.
The Mars Area High School graduate and San Diego Padres relief pitcher received word from San Diego's general manager on Tuesday afternoon that he is among five players coming to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of a three-team deal that sends pitcher Joe Musgrove to the Padres.
“It's still sinking in,” Bednar said. “I can hardly believe it.”
Bednar, 26, made four relief appearances with the Padres last season, He was unscored upon in his first seven big-league appearances with the team in 2019.
He said he first saw his name linked to the trade Monday on Twitter.
“I ran across it that way and wasn't sure what to think,” Bednar admitted. “There were so many names thrown around.
“When I got the call, and then the Pirates assistant general manager and manager reached out to me, I started to process it,” he said. “I grew up a Pittsburgh sports fan — Pirates, Steelers, Penguins, all of them — and went to games at PNC Park.
“To think I'll be pitching there, wearing a Pirate uniform,” Bednar said. “I can't wait.”
A 35th round draft choice of the Padres, Bednar has a career 2.70 earned run average in 159 relief appearances in the minor leagues. He compiled 303 strikeouts and 39 saves in 219.2 innings pitched in the minors.
While Bednar is going from a San Diego team with World Series aspirations in 2021 to a Pirate team in rebuilding mode, he doesn't care.
“That doesn't affect me at all,” he said. “My job is to get some outs when I'm called upon, no matter where I'm at.”
“This trade is an important part of our commitment to developing a talent base necessary to win in Pittsburgh,” said Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington in a statement. “Winning requires a depth of talent that we will only build through a continued focus on acquiring the best young players possible via all avenues.”
Bednar plans to be part of that rebuild.
“I'm excited to be coming home, for sure, but I think my family is more excited than I am,” he said.
His father, retired Mars Area High School baseball coach Andy Bednar, gladly confirms that.
“A dream come true,” his father said. “When you begin a baseball journey like he did, you're hoping for any opportunity anywhere it's offered.
“When David was out West, we could get out there once or twice a season to see him play. Now we can go right down the road and watch his team play half their games. Our family is just thrilled about this.”
The family is talented at the game. Bednar's younger brother, Will, is a left-handed power pitcher at Mississippi State and is projected to be an early-round draft choice in the amateur draft this June. His younger sister, Danielle, is a junior infielder on the Mars softball team and recently committed to Saint Francis (Pa.) University.
“A lot of good news,” Andy Bednar said.
David Bednar is single and has been staying at his parents' home during the off-season. Now he'll be there a little longer.
“We've been teasing him that he gets the big bedroom until his brother comes home,” Andy Bednar said, laughing.
“He can stay here as long as he wants,” Sue Bednar, David's mother said. “We're certainly not going to kick him out.
“Having him come back home to pitch for the Pirates, the team he watched and rooted for as kid, it's so surreal. We are absolutely thrilled. We couldn't be more proud.”
Bednar never made the San Diego Padres' big-league roster coming out of spring training.
He's hoping to come north with the Pirates when training camp opens this spring.
“That's the immediate goal,” Bednar said. “I know I have to work for it. You always have to earn a job (in professional baseball). That never changes.
“I've gotten comfortable pitching out of the bullpen. That doesn't really matter. I'll pitch whenever they want me to pitch.”
His father likes his odds of making the Pirate roster in March.
“The Padres' minor league system is loaded with talent,” Andy Bednar said. “Not slighting the Pirates in any way, but David's got a true opportunity here. It's up to him to show them.”
Other Padres prospects coming to Pittsburgh in the trade include 19-year-old outfielder Hudson Head; left-handed pitcher Omar Cruz, 21; and right-handed pitcher Drake Fellows, 22. The Bucs are also getting 21-year-old catcher/outfielder Endy Rodriguez from the Mets.
“I don't know those guys, but I guess I soon will,” Bednar said. “I know Hudson Head is extremely talented and does everything right. He's got a great attitude and has the potential to be a very good major-league player.”