Update: Despite short stint in MLB, Cory Rasmus remains positive

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comMay 29, 2013 

Twins Braves Baseball

DAVID GOLDMAN/Associated PressAtlanta Braves' B.J. Upton, center, is embraced by teammate Reed Johnson after hitting a home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on May 22 in Atlanta. His bat has been mostly silent since then.

DAVID GOLDMAN — AP

ATLANTA — It was supposed to be a homecoming with Colby and Cory Rasmus playing against each other in front of friends and family at Turner Field.

But just hours before the game, Cory Rasmus, 25, was at his locker in the Atlanta clubhouse packing for a trip to Syracuse with the Gwinnett Braves. His first major-league stint lasted one week.

He was sent back to Triple-A when the Braves activated right-hander Jordan Walden from the disabled list. Cory Rasmus struggled in his two outings, throwing 3 2-3 innings and giving up five runs and three home runs. He leaves with a 12.27 ERA.

"Even in this short time I've been here, I've learned a lot," Rasmus said. "They hit (home runs) when you get behind in the count. I need to be more aggressive."

"That's the nature of the beast," said older brother, Colby Rasmus, an outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays. "He'll learn from his time here and get a boost from it."

It wasn't for as long as he had hoped, but the former Russell County High standout's first promotion to Major League Baseball couldn't have come at a better time.

Called up to play for the Atlanta Braves on May 22, Rasmus' time in the big leagues included two games against Colby. Cory pitched to Colby on Monday in Toronto. It marked just the third time since 1974 that two brothers that werenít both pitchers faced each other, according to SportSouth.

Colby, 26, won the first duel with a sharply hit double into left field.

The fact that Cory Rasmus had a chance to be in the major leagues this early in the season or even at all came as a surprise to the right-handed pitcher and to his family.

Rasmus' goal this season was to make the roster in September, when the rosters for clubs can expand for the impending playoffs.

But make no mistake his goal always has been to be here, playing at the highest level, even when injury after injury forced those closest to him to question whether he should give up the dream.

Best player in the family

The way their dad, former Russell County High School baseball coach Tony Rasmus, tells it, Cory always has been the best player in the family.

He hit the ball harder than brothers Colby, Cyle and Case, Tony Rasmus said.

In 2005, when Colby broke Bo Jackson's high school home run record, it was Cory that was leading the team with 12 home runs in 10 games — Colby had five — before he broke a bone in his left wrist.

A year later, after the first doctor told Cory to rest the hand, he fractured it again, Tony Rasmus said. This time he had surgery, and that forced Cory to take up pitching if he was ever to achieve his dream.

The Braves drafted Cory in the first round of the 2006 MLB draft. He missed the 2007 season after his first shoulder surgery. After missing some of the 2008 season, he played a few games of rookie ball.

After two full years in the minors behind him, Cory again faced shoulder surgery in 2011. "It wasn't easy," Cory said Wednesday. "But I knew what I wanted to do."

Tony Rasmus said it was in 2009 or 2010 that he encouraged Cory to give it up.

"We knew it would be a shame for him not to play in the big leagues," Tony Rasmus said, "especially with all of the injuries and everything.

"But he's also the smartest and we wanted him to get his education and go be a doctor or lawyer or something."

The call

It was a week ago now that Cory Rasmus was called up for the Braves. During that time, he pitched against the Minnesota Twins and the Blue Jays.

Against the Twins, Cory came on in the eighth inning with two runners on base. He got out of the inning after forcing a fly out and recording his first major league strike out. He gave up two solo home runs in the top of the ninth as the Braves won 8-3.

On Monday, Cory and Colby faced each other for the first time.

"It was the best and worst time," Colby Rasmus said of the meeting. "I couldn't be excited after that double."

For Cory, it added to the excitement.

"My first week up and we get to play against each other," Cory said. "How cool is that? I obviously didn't like the way the matchup went, but I'll get him next time."

With his first assignment now behind him, Cory said he is more excited than disappointed, choosing to remain positive about the situation.

"I know what I need to work on now," he added. "You get in trouble by getting behind."

With that in mind and knowing the work he already has done, his father also remains optimistic about his future.

"It's good to see him make it this far after almost everyone giving up on him," Tony said. "Almost everyone did, but Cory didn't. No matter what he never gave up, and he kept working.

"No doubts he'll be back, and he'll have a long career at it."

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