SAN FRANCISCO -- As Andrew Suarez headed for Philadelphia late last month, he exchanged texts with River Cats teammate Ray Black, who was in Richmond, Virginia. Black was headed to his old Double-A ballpark for what he thought would be a one-game stop before a potential post-deadline call-up.
Instead, Black soon found himself in a different organization, and in the middle of a hellacious travel stretch.
The Giants' Triple-A affiliate was on the road in San Antonio for the trade deadline and team officials put four pitchers on the taxi squad to be prepared, knowing they would subtract from the big league bullpen. Black and left-hander Sam Selman left San Antonio a day before Suarez and Jandel Gustave, with the first two players going to Richmond to wait it out.
But Black ended up being thrown into a deal with Drew Pomeranz, and while Pomeranz joined Milwaukee's bullpen right away, Black was sent back to Triple-A. The Brewers' affiliate is based in -- you guessed it -- San Antonio. Black was sent right back where he had just been, this time by the Brewers.
"I was racking up the frequent flyer miles that week," Black told reporters in Milwaukee after he got called up Wednesday. "I wasn't expecting a trade. A lot of the talk around the deadline had been around some of our more veteran leaders going."
Black has been through it all in the minors and actually nearly retired a couple years ago. He had a good sense of humor about everything as he told the story to Brewers reporters, as Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel captured:
New #Brewers reliever Ray Black tells his crazy trade day travel story. pic.twitter.com/PBAvt4FXIu— Tom (@Haudricourt) August 14, 2019
The trip was a bit easier for the other three taxi squad pitchers. Suarez and Gustave ended up getting to the ballpark in the fourth inning on deadline day and are still with the big club. Selman was activated, too, but he's back in Sacramento.
That brings us to the real hero of this story, by the way. Black's wife, Parras, had been traveling with him and recently documented on her Instagram page how she went all the way back to Sacramento to pack up their apartment. It all worked out for the two. Ray pitched a perfect inning Wednesday in his Brewers debut.