AFTER EIGHT seasons in the minor leagues with three organizations and a stint in the Atlantic League, Mike Costanzo has finally made it to the major leagues.
Costanzo, an Archbishop Carroll product from Glen Mills and former Phillies second-round pick, was called up by the Cincinnati Reds from Triple A Louisville on Saturday and added to the active roster when Scott Rolen was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Costanzo, 28, had never played in a big-league game before Sunday. He came in as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning and hit a sacrifice fly for his first RBI in the Reds' 9-6 win over Washington.
"It's been quite a journey for me," Costanzo said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I'm definitely ecstatic about being here. A lot of guys never get the chance."
The Phillies did not have a first-round selection in 2005, meaning Costanzo, chosen out of Coastal Carolina, was the their first pick of the draft at No. 65. Costanzo was the darling of the local media on draft day thanks to his local connections.
He and the Phillies ironed out a deal at 3 a.m. after Day 1 of the draft and he showed up for his introductory news conference with the tiny Phillies jacket that his parents dressed him in on the way home from the hospital as a newborn.
In 2007, he hit .270 with 27 home runs at Double A Reading, but was traded to Houston as part of the Brad Lidge deal that offseason. Shortly thereafter, the Astros shipped him to Baltimore in a deal for Miguel Tejada.
Costanzo was released by the Orioles after hitting just .202 at Double A and Triple A in 2009. Before the 2010 season, the Orioles asked Constanzo to try pitching. He primarily has played third base, but also has seen time at first. He declined to attempt pitching and started the season playing for the Camden Riversharks, but was signed by the Reds about a month into the season. This year, he was hitting .303 with six home runs, 24 RBI and 37 strikeouts in 127 plate appearances at Double A Pensacola and Triple A Louisville.
Costanzo's parents were expected to fly to Cincinnati from Philadelphia in time for Sunday's game.
"It was the best feeling when I called my parents," Costanzo said.