DENVER — Ten years after being called up by the San Diego Padres, Wynton Bernard finally got a chance to play in the major leagues.
Bernard singled, stole a base and scored in his Major League-debut and helped the Colorado Rockies defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 on Friday-evening.
Bernard, 31, toiled with the minors for more than 10 years before his contract was selected by Colorado on Friday. He made a memorable debut when he helped start a rally in the seventh inning that put the Rockies ahead for good.
Bernard hit out an infield single after Sam Hilliard led off the inning with a double off Chris Devenski (2-1). Bernard stole second place, took third on Charlie Blackmon’s RBI single and scored on a sacrifice fly.
“It’s a special moment,” Bernard said before the match. “After how many years I’ve played, I’m finally here. It’s great. I’m finally here.”
The 31-year-old Bernard was won in the 35th round of the 2012 draft and spent three seasons in the Padres’ minor league system. He also played in the minors for Detroit, San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs, along with stints in the Mexican Winter League, Venezuelan Winter League and independent ball.
And he played for the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League.
Colorado manager Bud Black went to Bernard and outfielder Connor Joe in the winter of 2020. He gave both players batting training and encouraged the Rockies to sign them.
“I’ve made the recommendation to our front office to see if we can sign these guys,” Black said. “Our front office contacted their agents and they made deals.”
Joe made his Rockies debut in 2021, while Bernard played for the Isotopes for the past two seasons. He hit .254 with seven home runs in 2021. This year his numbers are excellent: .325 with 17 homers, 24 doubles and 26 stolen bases.
In 10 minor league seasons, he hits .286 with 50 home runs and 226 stolen bases.
Bernard was told that he was promoted before the Albuquerque game on Thursday. He celebrated with teammates and shared the news with his mother in a video call.
“My mother’s emotions made me break even more. She’s done so much,” he said. “The way I saw her take care of my father before he died, he was bedridden, but she stayed by his side. I said to myself, ‘I know how hard she worked, so I’m going to work just as hard — if not more difficult.’ Just to see her reaction meant a lot.”
The Rockies assigned pitcher Jordan Sheffield to command. They also recalled catcher Dom Nunez and placed outfielder Yonathan Daza (left shoulder dislocation) and catcher Elias Diaz (left wrist sprain) on the 10-day injured list.