The first dealt with his promotion to the major leagues. He was called in to his manager's (Triple-A Reno manager Brett Butler) office after their game. Wheeler's first reaction was that he must have done something wrong during the game. He started thinking "if it was something that happened during the game" and about how he was going to explain.
After sweating it a bit, Wheeler got the good news. Butler told him, "No, no, no. Just kidding. Congratulations! You're going to the big leagues tomorrow."
So to Phoenix he arrived.
The second surprise happened when he ran into manager Kirk Gibson in the elevator. The conversation went like this, according to Wheeler.
Gibby: "Hey, how you feeling?"
Gibby: "Are you ready to play tonight?"
Wheeler: "Of course!"
Gibby: "All right. you're in there."
Wheeler: "Oh! Ok, all right! Let's get it going then."
He makes his major league debut the day he arrives, batting eighth in the lineup and playing third base.
Gibby explained that he already had made the lineup and had already decided to start him.
How will he be used? He can play third base, first base and some left field. "I think he'll enter the rotation and try to put him in situations he can be successful at," said Gibson. "I'll still continue to play everybody."
Gibson compared to him to a younger Geoff Blum, whom he replaced on the roster, except that he has "a little more sock in his bat" and "uses more of the field" to hit.
My guess is that with a lack of production from third base, the team is giving him a look to see if he can do anything at this level, especially with the run production he had in the minors. He had 15 homers and led all the minors in 90 RBI.
He won't play everyday, but will probably get the majority of looks. In all likelihood, it may be a way to see where the organization stands in the present for third base help.
Here are tonight's starting lineups:
- Jordan Schafer, CF
- Marwin Gonzalez, SS
- Matt Downs, 1B
- J.D. Martinez, LF
- Brian Bogusevic, RF
- Chris Johnson, 3B
- Brian Bixler, 2B
- Carlos Corporan, C
- Bud Norris, P
- Gerardo Parra, CF
- Stephen Drew, SS
- Aaron Hill, 2B
- Jason Kubel, LF
- Justin Upton, RF
- Miguel Montero, C
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Ryan Wheeler, 3B
- Trevor Cahill, P