Outfielder Nick Buss made his first major league start for the Dodgers, a day after he got his first major league hit.
That capped a whirlwind of a weekend for the former USC standout, who didn’t arrive at Dodger Stadium until shortly before game time Saturday.
Buss led the Pacific Coast League in runs batted in this season, batting .303 with 100 RBIs in 131 games at triple-A Albuquerque. When the minor league season ended two weeks ago, he and Albuquerque teammate Alex Castellanos reported to the Dodgers’ training facility in Arizona to stay sharp in case they were needed in Los Angeles.
That call came Saturday after the Dodgers lost Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier to injury on consecutive days. A couple of hours after putting on his uniform for the first time, Buss pinch-hit for Carl Crawford. Then two innings later he singled to right off former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, earning the ball from his first hit as a souvenir.
“It was very exciting. But surprisingly I felt calm,” Buss said. “You get so used to stepping into the batter’s box. It was probably a little more nerve-wracking on deck then it is once you step in there.
“It’s just back to business as usual.”
The ball Buss hit was wrapped in a plastic bag and tucked safely in his locker Sunday, and the rookie said he wasn’t sure what he’d do with it. At first Buss figured he’d just take the ball home, but after being told many players give the memento to parents or relatives, Buss said he might have to reconsider.
“I don’t really know the tradition,” he said. “So maybe I have to think about it a little bit.”