Drew Pomeranz back in major leagues with Giants after 3-year absence caused by injuries

NEW YORK (AP) — Drew Pomeranz was in his Oklahoma City hotel room when his cell phone rang with his agent on the line. The San Francisco Giants were willing to bring the left-hander back to the major leagues after a three-year absence.

“`Make it happen now. I’m there. Don’t care. I’ll drive there if they want me to,'” Pomeranz recalled saying. “Just a determination to not end like it did. Could have just as easily just not played. People were like, `You've got 10 years, right? Why you still playing?' I'm like, I just need to finish on a good note, whatever that is.”

So the 35-year-old former All-Star exercised an opt out in his minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, took a flight to Atlanta and a connection to Newark, New Jersey, and reached the Giants' hotel near Rockefeller Center at 2:30 a.m. Friday. Twelve hours later he was in the visitors' clubhouse at Citi Field preparing for a game against the New York Mets after agreeing to a one-year contract with San Francisco.

Only there was a problem with his cleats: Dodger blue.

A clubhouse attendant put them in a box and took them away, to burn them, he said, perhaps jokingly. Pomeranz was given a pair of new shoes in gray.

Selected fifth overall by Cleveland in the 2010 amateur draft, Pomeranz is 48-58 with a 3.91 ERA in 140 starts and 149 relief appearances for Colorado (2011-13), Oakland (2014-15), San Diego (2016, 2020-21), Boston (2016-18), San Francisco (2019) and Milwaukee (2021). He was an All-Star in 2016 and went 17-6 for the Red Sox the following year.

“It’s been a long, hard road, and I’ve been with him on some of these rehab (attempts) where he’s right on the verge of coming back and then had another setback,” said Giants manager Bob Melvin, Pomeranz’s former skipper with the Athletics and Padres. "At this point and time of his career, you could say, you know what, I’m done. But he doesn’t. He still wants to play and he still wants to pitch."

Pomeranz missed seven weeks in 2021 due to a left shoulder impingement and then 10 days with left forearm inflammation. He made his last appearance that Aug. 10 against Miami, and the Padres said four days later Pomeranz needed surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.

He made five minor league rehab appearances in August 2022 and three in April 2023, then had what the Padres called left elbow cleanup surgery. Pomeranz made two more rehab appearances that August.

“I was so close and there’s always something that would happen,” he said.

Pomeranz became a free agent after completing a $34 million, four-year contrac t with the Padres, signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels and made eight spring training appearances.

“They put me through it, for sure,” he said. “See like, is this guy broken or not?”

Pomeranz was released, signed with the Dodgers and went 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in eight games with Oklahoma City — the last four scoreless.

“The big thing is throwing strikes, right? And especially with that ABS down there, it’s really tough," he said of the automated ball-strike system used in the minors. "You can’t pick corners. There's definitely a different zone. Here you get used to pitching in one way and just kind of trying to nail the corners and keep it around the middle, but there you kind of have to fill it up. I just focus on filling up the zone."

San Francisco optioned right-hander Mason Black to Triple-A Sacramento and designated catcher Jakson Reetz for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster.

“It’s a major league arm who when right is really good,” Melvin said. “Our bullpen's been pretty beat up here of late, and we’re looking for some experience and a major league arm. especially from the left side right now.”

When Pomeranz got the phone call from Matt Ricatto of CAA Baseball, he quickly packed up the belongings and gear in his hotel room.

“I’ve been living out of a suitcase all year,” he said. “I've still got Padres and Angels and Dodgers and all kinds of stuff mixed in here.”



Ronald Blum, The Associated Press