TORONTO — Drew Maggi didn’t know what was going on when first base coach Tommy Watkins approached him at his locker Saturday morning and summoned him to manager Rocco Baldelli’s office.
He walked into Baldelli’s office, the two coaches both sat and Baldelli asked him about his whereabouts Friday night. By this point, Maggi said he started panicking.
“I told them,’ ‘Well, I went down to the hotel bar and got a drink, just hung out,’ ” Maggi said. “(Baldelli’s) like, ‘Oh? What time did that close?’ I said, ‘Midnight.’ He goes, ‘Well, that’s what you should have been doing. Congrats. You’re a big leaguer.’ My heart and everything, the emotions right there were crazy.”
Those were, after all, the words Maggi had been waiting to hear his entire life, words he often thought he never would. After a minor league career that spanned 11 seasons, plus last year’s stint at the alternate site, the infielder’s dream finally came true on Saturday when he was called up to the big leagues for the first time.
It’s not often that Baldelli is the one who gets to deliver the news, a job often reserved for Triple-A manager Toby Gardenhire. But Maggi already happened to be with the team as a member of the taxi squad, and Baldelli cherished the opportunity to deliver the news on Saturday.
“There are people that you come in contact with in this game who have dedicated their entire life and all of their energy and emotion towards something they didn’t know if they would reach,” Baldelli said. “ … After going through everything Drew has gone through, the many seasons that he’s put in, all of the work that he’s put in, this is the goal. This is what he was aiming for.
“He may have other goals in his life, but this is the big one, and he did it.”
Maggi quickly got on the phone. He estimated he had made over 100 calls, and gotten over 100, too. His father was quiet when he heard his son tell him he was a big leaguer before starting to break down with emotion. His mother, who was on speaker, started yelling. All five of his brothers got a phone call, too.
“My parents are unbelievable,” Maggi said. “They always kept me going. They always believed. I would’ve given up, personally, a long time ago if it wasn’t for my parents, no question.”
Selected in the 15th round of the 2010 draft, Maggi bounced around between the Pirates, Angels, Dodgers and Indians organizations before signing a minor league deal with the Twins ahead of the 2019 season.
He first reached Triple-A in 2016, the level he has mostly played at since. In recent seasons, he has been making adjustments to help generate more power, slugging a career-high 16 home runs this season with the Saints before his promotion. Before hitting 11 home runs in 2019 while in the Twins organization, he had never hit more than five in a season.
“I’m like, geez, if I could have figured this out four or five years ago, I’d have a couple of years in The Show, and who knows where I’d be?” Maggi said. “I’m just glad that I did and I’m happy to be here.”
After all these years.
“Eleven years, I thought my career was over 20 times and something would always happen, whether it be something small like my mom texting me to keep going or a friend saying, ‘We believe in you,’ or myself just trying to find some motivation,” Maggi said. “ … It’s crazy. I’ve been crying all day. It’s been crazy. It’s crazy to think about.”
Maggi got the call because the Twins placed outfielder Rob Refsnyder on the injured list. Refsnyder has a right elbow impingement, and Baldelli said he has been fighting through the injury since last week. … To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins transferred reliever Taylor Rogers to the 60-day injured list. Baldelli has already said that Rogers will not be returning this season.