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A shot at ‘The Show’

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Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:00 am

For six years, Hatton native Donovan Hand has waited for a chance. A chance to prove his worth with the Milwaukee Brewers baseball club.

Hand has spent five years in the minor league's waiting for that phone call to head to the parent club and make it to "The Show".

That phone call is closer than it has ever been now for Hand, who recently received a non-roster invite to training camp.

Hand, excited about the opportunity to prove himself, said this was the shot he's waited for.

"I finally get a chance to to make an impression," he said. "The team hasn't signed anybody, so it's what I make of it now."

A 2004 graduate of Hatton High School, Hand went on to star at Jacksonville State University and was drafted by the Brewers in the 14th round of the 2007 amateur draft.

Hand has pitched in Huntsville and is currently a member of the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.

But a chance to show his skills to the Brewers' coaching staff has arrived.

"There are two spots open for maybe 15 guys to compete for," said Hand. "Who knows, maybe this is the year I will get a chance to join the club."

Last fall, Hand spent six weeks playing in Venezuela and hopes his time there pays off if the Brewers elect not to retain him after this season.

"This is my last year under contract with the Brewers. Obviously, I don't want to leave the Brewers, but if a better opportunity arises, I might have to look at it," he said.

His manager in Venezuela is a coach for the Houston Astros and his pitching coach was a member of the Atlanta Braves staff.

"I pitched well there and I was able to get my name out there," said Hand. "Hopefully that will pay off in the future."

Last year with the Sounds, Hand threw 79 innings in relief and finished with a respectable 3.84 ERA and 1.356 WHIP (Walks, Hits per Innings Pitched). He also had 6.1 strikeouts for every 9 innings pitched.

"In Triple-A, you pitch against guys who have been up and down in the Major Leagues and are hitting for average," said Hand. "It gives you a chance to pitch against good hitters who are good enough to play.

"If you get to Triple-A, you have the physical skills to play (in the Major League), it's all above the shoulders from there."

Getting the opportunity to compete for a roster spot can lead to several future options for players. The Brewers will expand their roster in September and Hand could get a call then. Of course, throughout the course of a season, the possibilities are endless.

"You never know. It could be June and somebody in the bullpen is struggling," said Hand. "This camp is a chance to prove I have the ability to step in for them."

Hand is still waiting for that important phone call, but now he knows to keep his phone close by.

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