Aces’ Straily reflects on MLB journey, Korea, time in Reno

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 4:51 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “It’s been a while.”

Aces’ starting pitcher Dan Straily has more major league experience than anyone else on Reno’s roster.

“It’s been fun,” Straily said of his journey. “This is Year 14. It’s crazy to look back and see what this year’s baseball looks like and how different it is. I wouldn’t even be able to be drafted in today’s game because there’s only 20 rounds.”

On paper Straily was a longshot to be a mainstay in the majors. The 24th-round selection by the Oakland A’s in 2009 grinded his way through the minor leagues before making his MLB debut in 2012. This was all made possible after a change he made in college: losing weight.

“I didn’t understand that I was supposed to eat right, lift weights, and run,” said Straily. “I didn’t understand what was supposed to happen. I had some very good teachers around me in college. They showed me how to take care of myself better.”

To stay with the big league clubs Straily had to develop two strikeout pitches. For eight seasons Straily started and threw out of the ‘pen for the A’s, Cubs, Astros, Reds, Marlins, and Orioles.

Struggles in Baltimore took him to Korea where he signed with Lotte of the KBO in 2020.

“I got over there thinking I was just going to work on some stuff quietly and try to get back to the Big Leagues. I got over there, COVID hit, and we were the only league playing. It wasn’t anything like I expected when I went over there. I was still able to use it as a stepping stone like I wanted to. I figured out what was broken and how to fix it and that’s how I’m back here today.”

Instead of returning to Korea Straily opted to sign a deal with the Diamondbacks and start this season in Reno. Part of the allure of the Biggest Little City is having his family a short flight away in Bend, Oregon.

Pitching well enough to earn a spot in Arizona’s rotation remains the goal, but helping develop future big-leaguers along the way has been rewarding as well.

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