Joel Peralta watched his new teammate pitch one night in the Dominican winter league, saw the kid's arm action, saw the life on his fastball and knew he had to call Andrew Friedman.
Yeah, the kid was 32, and yeah, he spent the past two seasons being overworked in the Mexican League, but the Tampa Bay Rays are a team built on good pitching, and Peralta was looking at a good pitcher.
So Peralta called Friedman and tried to sell the Rays executive vice president of baseball operations on Juan Sandoval.
"I think there is a catch," Peralta finally said. "He's blind in one eye."
There was a pause. Then Friedman asked, "Which eye?"
"The right eye," Peralta said
"OK," Friedman said. "That's all right."
That's the Readers Digest condensed version of how Sandoval came to occupy one of the first lockers inside the Rays clubhouse at Charlotte Sports Park. He wears No. 85 and dresses on the side of the room with the other players destined for Montgomery or Durham.
For Tampa Bay Rays' Sandoval, dream is in focus
Tampa Tribune | Feb 23