04/17/08 8:50 PM ET
Duran has a debut to remember
Infielder starts at third, faces Toronto ace Halladay in first game
By David Singh / MLB.com
Late Wednesday night, the 23-year-old was in Oklahoma City with the team's Triple-A affiliate when he received life-changing news from his manager, Bobby Jones.
"I came into the clubhouse, and my manager said, 'Stick around, because you might be going up,' " Duran said. "I said, 'Where?' and he said, 'To Toronto.' "
With arrangements being made to place outfielder Marlon Byrd on the disabled list, Texas summoned Duran to Toronto, where he was expected to help a team that is fighting through various injuries.
After hearing the good news, Duran boarded a flight from Oklahoma City at 6 a.m. CT, arriving in Toronto at 11:30 a.m. local time on Thursday.
"I'm still floating," he said of his whirlwind morning.
When Duran arrived in Toronto, the native of Fort Worth, Texas, learned that he would be making his Major League debut by starting at third base and batting ninth in the finale of the two-game series against the Jays. Texas purchased his contract from Oklahoma before the game.
And as if things weren't hectic enough for him on his first day, the opposing pitcher was Blue Jays ace and 2003 Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay.
Before the game, Duran admitted that he was a little excited. He said he was keeping himself grounded by not focusing on the long-term, instead remembering his role on the ballclub.
"I've just got to go out there, be professional and do my job," he said. "If I go out there and just play my game the way I can play and just relax, anything can happen. But I'm just here to help them out.
"I'm blessed to be here. Whatever they need me to do, I'll do it."
Heading into the 2008 campaign, Duran had hit .286 over three Minor League seasons. This year at Oklahoma, he was batting .250 (10-for-40) with two doubles and eight runs scored in 10 games. In 2007, with Double-A Frisco, he ranked among Texas League leaders in hits (second, with 144), RBIs (second, 84) and home runs (third, 22).
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.