St. Cloud, MN- Former St. Cloud Rox outfielder TJ Friedl made his Major League debut on Saturday, September 18th for the Cincinnati Reds. Friedl, 26, entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the Reds 5-1 loss to the Dodgers in the eighth inning against reliever Joe Kelly, he popped out to the middle of the infield. Friedl got his first major league hit on September 19th. As a pinch-hitter, Friedl took the first pitch he saw from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin and hit a home run to rightfield. In Friedl second game as a big leaguer, he was 2-2 with two runs scored.
“It’s definitely hard to get rid of those butterflies and the nerves. I was prepared,” Friedl said. “I had a feeling. Once I knew I was activated, I knew there was the chance to pinch-hit. There’s always a chance to get in the game whether it’s defense or whatever it may be. I went to hit with Tyler Stephenson and some of the guys and just stayed ready to hit. That helped calm the nerves a lot and just made it more like a normal day in the life of a baseball player.”
Friedl appeared in 16 games for the Rox during the 2016 season. Holding a .373 batting average. He drove in 11 runs and scored 15 runs with 12 stolen bases. There was only one game Friedl didn’t reach base. Friedl also had multiple hits in half of the games that he played in. After 16 games with St. Cloud Friedl went from the red, white and blue of the Rox to the red, white and blue of Team USA, as he signed with the USA national baseball team. Friedl hit .290 in games for Team USA with seven extra-base hits.
After 18 games with Team USA Friedl signed a free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds receiving the highest bonus in MLB history for a non-drafted free agent domestic amateur player. Friedl received a $735,000 bonus from the Reds.
Friedl became the fourth Rox player in recent months to make their major league debut joining Zach Popp (Marlins), Jay Flaa (Braves) and Lucus Gilbreath (Rockies). Friedl becomes a Northwoods League best 33rd player to reach the major league level from the St. Cloud Northwoods League franchise.
2nd MLB at-bat.
1st MLB hit.
1st MLB homer.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 19, 2021