OTTAWA-Dreams do come true.
It has been a long road for Regina’s Dustin Molleken, but the veteran National Team reliever is set to make his big league debut with the Detroit Tigers who called up the right-handed pitcher from Triple-A Toledo after a career that has spanned 13 minor league seasons.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” said Molleken, 31, who's expected to pitch in long relief with the Tigers. “I appreciate all the support I’ve received throughout my career – it’s taken me 13 years to get here.”
Getting the call to the big leagues took on even greater meaning as Molleken received the news while celebrating his first Father’s Day after his daughter was born last August.
Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of the Prairie Baseball Academy in 2003, Molleken has toiled through 13 minor league seasons with five different organizations (Pirates, Rockies, Brewers, Indians, Tigers) including a stint with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.
After signing a minor league deal with the Tigers in the offseason, he has spent all of the 2016 season with the Toledo Mud Hens in the International League where he has a 3.76 ERA over 38.1 innings pitched in 23 appearances including four starts. He has 34 strikeouts and has kept hitters to a .224 batting average.
Molleken’s experience with Baseball Canada dates back to 2002 when he was invited to the Junior National Team’s final selection camp prior to the IBAF World Junior Baseball Championships. He made his debut with the Senior National Team in 2009 helping Canada to a bronze medal at the IBAF Baseball World Cup and repeated the feat in 2011 with the National Team before going on to capture a historic gold medal at the Pan Am Games in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico that same year. In 2013 he played for Canada at the World Baseball Classic and last fall wore the red and white again at the inaugural Premier 12 tournament in Taiwan.
Molleken is set to become the 258th Canadian to play in the big leagues.