Undrafted Free Agent Overcomes Self Created Obstacles To Return To MLB
Steve Geltz‘s road to the major leagues started in 2008 after signing with the Los Angeles Angels as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Buffalo.
He ascended through the Angels minor league system and by the 2012 season he was added to the Angels 40-man roster and appeared in two games during that season – both against the Rays.
At the end of spring training in 2013 he was dealt to the Rays in exchange for Dane De La Rosa and spent the season with the Durham Bulls going 5-2 with a 2.82 ERA (21ER/67IP) striking out 80 and walking 24.
He was looking forward to competing for another shot at the big leagues and impressed manager Joe Maddon in spring training. “I loved him in spring training when we saw him.” Joe Maddon said. “His numbers historically have been really good, our guys really like him.”
Unfortunately for the Geltz and the Rays his season was sidetracked after a second positive test for a drug of abuse resulted in a 50-game suspension.
After serving his suspension he returned the Durham Bulls and appeared in 29 games posting a 3-3 record with a 2.39 ERA (11ER/41.2IP) striking out 60 and walking 17.
When he arrived back to his apartment on Saturday night he was given the news that he was heading to St. Petersburg to join the Rays, “I was extremely surprised.” he told Steve Carney of 620WDAE. ” Caught off-guard was an understatement.” Of the suspension he said, “”It was a mistake that I made in the offseason. Just having a little bit too much fun with my friends, and I paid the price, but that’s in the past. Time to move forward, and that’s what I try to do.”
Joe Maddon said that he was aware of the suspension but is not against giving second chances and kept things simple saying, “I met him, I like him, and I think he can be really good for us.”