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updated: 5/28/2014 9:04 PM

Major League dream keeps Goebbert going

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  • Jake Goebbert

      Jake Goebbert

 
By Mike Miazga
Daily Herald Correspondent

Hampshire graduate Jake Goebbert did just that earlier in the month. Goebbert, also a former baseball standout at Northwestern University, was recently traded by the Oakland A's to the San Diego Padres.

Goebbert started the 2014 season playing for the A's Triple-A team in Sacramento, Calif. He was dealt to San Diego along with a player-to-be-named later or cash considerations in a move that sent Padres outfielder Kyle Blanks to Oakland. Goebbert was assigned to San Diego's Triple-A affiliate in El Paso, Texas.

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"It was a big surprise," Goebbert told the Daily Herald recently after the team landed in Washington to begin a series against Tacoma. "I was just getting settled in Sacramento and getting to know the area. My wife was out there. But it's how baseball works and this is an exciting next step to my career.

"Oakland needed a big-league bat to platoon with Brandon Moss and Blanks was available. The Padres were interested in me and I guess had been for a while. It's nice when you hear that. You go where the opportunities are. It's definitely a change in the path, but it's not for me to judge. There are a lot of variables that go into these types of things and most are out of your control."

Goebbert is now playing for legendary college coach Pat Murphy (former Notre Dame and Arizona State coach), who is in his fourth season managing in San Diego's farm system. In something that falls into the small-world category, Murphy coached Goebbert's dad at Florida Atlantic University.

"I have a neat opportunity here to play for Pat Murphy," he said. "It's crazy that he coached my dad. He absolutely remembered my dad. He has a lot of experience from the college game. He's a fun guy to play for who has a lot of energy. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."

Goebbert has been playing at the Triple-A level for parts of the last three seasons. He's a career .277 minor league hitter with 61 homers.

"This last part of May I've been struggling a little and I've had my ups an downs. I'm getting ready for a hot streak now," he said. "You can't really worry about it. You have to go out and do your best every day and let the results come. Consistency is the most important thing. My numbers have been pretty much the same. You trust your ability and God-willing you will get an opportunity (to play in the big leagues) at some point."

Heading into last weekend, Goebbert was hitting .185 with 2 homers and 5 RBI at El Paso. He hit .257 with 6 homers and 25 RBI at Sacramento.

"May has been tough, but I'm still only 120 at-bats into the season," he said. "I'm staying with my approach and working hard to get myself better."

Goebbert said his rise to the Triple-A level was swift after being drafted in the 13th round in 2009 by Houston. He was traded by the Astros to Oakland early last season.

"I was fortunate to have a good year my first full season," he said. "It really came quick. I played Double-A and then I've bounced back and forth between Double-A and Triple-A and now I have the opportunity to play every day."

Goebbert said the last week or so has been a whirlwind.

"It's always tough transitioning into a new city," he said. "I was only in El Paso for three days before we went out on this road trip. My wife, Heather, went back to Chicago after the trade. I'm getting a feel for the area right now and doing my best to be comfortable."

El Paso is in its first season hosting a Triple-A team. The team moved from Tucson, Ariz., and was indoctrinated as the El Paso Chihuahuas. The team's ball cap was recently voted No. 1 most popular throughout all of the minor leagues. El Paso also plays in a new downtown stadium (Southwest University Park) that has generated many sellouts this season.

"The new stadium is really nice," said Goebbert, who currently is living in a hotel in El Paso. "The fans here are great. I think they've sold out all but one game here this season."

Goebbert said he doesn't know a ton about the Padres organization, but likes what he's seen so far.

"They let me play and they expect you to play the game the right way," he said.

Goebbert added he's still having fun playing the game and still has the burning goal of making to the Major Leagues.

"I absolutely still love playing," he said. "I love every day getting up and being able to do what I love. At the same time it's still a job and it can be difficult at times. I still have the determination. The ultimate goal is so close and you have to work for it. The goal still burns bright."

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