" 'This is an amazing dream come true,' said the 26-year-old Jaramillo, a Franksville native who becomes the first position player from Racine County to start for a major league team since Case graduate Duane Kuiper started 18 games at second base for the 1984 San Francisco Giants. 'All the blood, sweat and tears, I guess they say, about battling and working hard to achieve your dream is coming true.' "Jaramillo, 26, is starting for the Pirates and his manager for the Lynx, John Russell, and doing a bang-up job in Ryan Doumit's absence. The job is his to lose until Doumit's projected return around the all-star break and the Pirates are 11-8, with a NL-best 3.36 ERA under Russell and former Expos pitching coach Joe Kerrigan.
Jaramillo is mostly backup-catcher timbre, the catch-and-throw guy who can hold on to a major-league job just for a receiving skills and occasionally. It's mostly beside the point whether he and the Pirates can sustain such a start. It's just nice, for lack of a more original word, to see him get a chance to play every day. He represented the late and lamented Lynx in the Triple-A All-Star Game in 2007. The offensive numbers (he had the exact same on-base-plus-slugging, .711, in both '07 and '08) were depressed somewhat by pitchers' parks in both Ottawa and Allentown, Pa., so the change of scenery helped. It's a pleasant surprise, to say the least.
"And from a defensive standpoint — and defense is Jaramillo's forte — he has yet to commit an error and has thrown out two baserunners, one of which was a SportsCenter highlight.(Link via Rattler Radio, which has regular updates on B.C. baseball phenom Brett Lawrie, who's playing for a Milwaukee Brewers' Single-A team.
"So delighted is Pirates manager John Russell, who managed Jaramillo with the Class AAA Ottawa Lynx in 2007, that he only could think of one complaint.
" 'The only knock I have on him is he's from Oklahoma State,” joked Russell, who was a catcher for arch-rival Oklahoma from 1979-82.
"Jaramillo has been no laughing matter. Wearing the No. 35 three-time All-Star catcher Manny Sanguillen wore for the Pirates from 1967-80, Jaramillo has filled a huge hole in Doumit's absence.
" 'I knew he was a good player when he was with the Phillies,' Russell said. 'He was a top prospect and they kind of rushed him through the system a little bit. But he struck me as a very good defensive catcher and he really became a student of the game with switch-hitting. He showed flashes of potential with his batting, as well, so he has a lot of tools.
" 'He made the team because of his defensive abilities, but some of his offensive skills are starting to show up.' "
Jaramillo reaches MLB's top floor (Peter Jackel, Racine Journal-Times)