After Minnesota Twins lost Friday night’s match to the Royals, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli didn’t name a starter for the Saturday afternoon matchup in his postgame press conference. In front of the media, Baldelli made it appear that he hadn’t made up his mind yet.
However, he and his staff had a plan to give Griffin Jax his first start in the big leagues on Saturday which will make him the first graduate of the US Air Force Academy to start a Major League game. Minnesota missed the mark by 20 hours to have Jax start on Kansas City’s Armed Forces Night.
He will make his first career start on the Fourth of July weekend that still makes it a special occasion for the Twins. Baldelli said that they have had planned this for a few months, to give Griffin pitching this weekend but they missed it by a day. “Sometimes we mishandle things, and that was one of the things we may have messed up a little bit, but it still plays out all right,” he added.
Jax became the first Air Force Academy graduate to make a Major League roster on June 5. He made her debut on June 8 and became the first graduate to appear in a Major League game. Now, Jax will be representing Twins and Baldelli said Jax has taken everything in stride as he is also representing the US military and the Air Force Academy.
Baldelli said. “The type of character that he brings to the table, you're not surprised that he's having the success he's having, because he's a very disciplined, hard-working, and talented young guy. He is always going to put himself in a position to succeed. He does every day when he's here. Doesn't get distracted by things that could distract others and could get in his way. Doesn't let any of that bother him. He's doing a great job, and I have no doubt he'll continue to be the same guy going forward and have success on the field.”
Jax appeared in four games in June, pitching to a 7.82 ERA, a .280 opponents’ average, and a 1.50 WHIP. He’d worked almost exclusively as a starter across five seasons in the Minors, where he posted a 3.20 ERA and struck out 217 batters to just 60 walks and he finally got that chance on Saturday.