Jonathan Roof knows how much a person’s life can change in a single week. Just a Saturday before, the Tucson Padres outfielder manned the hot corner for the Lake Elsinore Storm, Single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, and went hitless at the plate.
Seven days later, Roof made his Triple-A debut start on May 19 and went 2-for-3 with 2 runs and a walk.
The Padres won, 6-2, over the Nashville Sounds in Roof’s first start on Saturday.
“I just went out there and relaxed and played the game of baseball,” Roof said. “I wasn’t really result-oriented. I just wanted to get out there and be competitive. Fortunately, I ended up getting some good pitches, and it all worked out.”
In his first Triple-A at-bat ever, Roof singled with an opposite-field blooper that dropped just inside the right field line. The 23-year-old also had a memorable second at-bat, when Roof worked the count to full and battled off numerous pitches before he singled to right-center.
“I’m happy for him – that he had a good night – because he hadn’t ever played above Single-A ball,” Padres manager Terry Kennedy said. “Roof’s a pro. He didn’t come up here all wide-eyed – he was prepared for this level. It’s nice to have him on the team.”
Roof comes from a long line of professional baseball players. Being a Major League catcher for 14 years, Kennedy himself has many connections to his family. The current Padres manager played with Roof’s father Gene when they were within the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Roof’s uncle Phil was a catcher for the Oakland A’s when Kennedy’s father Bob managed the team.
Three of Roof’s other uncles – Adrian, Paul and David – also played in the minor leagues.
“Needless to say, I know the Roof family well,” Kennedy said. “They are all great. I like their whole family a lot.”
In evaluating Roof as a player, Kennedy said has great athleticism and baserunning ability but would like to see him gain more physical strength. Roof himself said he is not a power hitter at all, but both of them are confident that his brawn will come in time.
“Having the type of players we do on this team really helped me out with the transition process here,” Roof said. “They welcomed me from the very first day. Having teammates like that makes a difference, so I'm really thankful.”