Talk about getting thrown into the fire. For Danny Muno and Charley Thurber - who were both members of the 2011 Cyclones – that is exactly what happened.
Monday, March 5th was the report day for the start of minor league Spring Training at the Mets complex in Port St. Lucie, FL. The pair of former Cyclones had reported early, so they were a little ahead of schedule, but were still far from ready for Opening Day. That evening however, they were told that they would be traveling with the major league club on Tuesday for a spilt-squad game in Kissimmee, FL against the Astros.
With split squad games it is typical that a handful of minor leaguers get the call up so that they can field enough players for the two games. What is anything but typical however, is for three players who ended the year playing in Short Season-A ball to start the next spring with at-bats in big league camp.
“I was obviously pumped,” said Danny Muno, who led the New York-Penn League in hitting last season. “At the end of last year I was lucky enough to win the Sterling Award and had a chance to take BP at Citi Field before a game. I got to meet some of the guys on the team then, so I at least had a few familiar faces around me. But between that opportunity last year, and this opportunity this year, it just makes you that much hungrier to get that call up to the big leagues, but for good, not just for one day.”
Danny came into the game in the late innings to replace another former Cyclone, Daniel Murphy, at second base, and grounded out in his lone at-bat.
“It was interesting to say the least. The first at-bat of the spring for me comes against a guy (Wilton Lopez), who has been in the big leagues for three years and is a pretty hard thrower. Nothing like kick starting the spring.”
That afternoon, there were 10 former Cyclones who played in Kissimme. Wilmer Flores, Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Josh Satin, Juan Lagares and Chris Schwinden were all in the starting lineup, and Muno, Thurber, and Cory Vaughn all came in off the bench.