MINNEAPOLIS -- Randy Dobnak’s days of driving Uber are likely behind him.
The Twins’ newest reliever boasts of a 4.99/5.00 Uber driver rating on his Twitter account and while he’ll always have that to fall back on, Dobnak’s baseball journey reached Minneapolis on Thursday, Aug. 8.
A day earlier, Dobnak received news of a call up — the first of his career — but his path to the majors was anything but linear.
Dobnak attended Alderson Broaddus University, a Division II school in West Virginia. From there, he went undrafted and then played for the Utica Unicorns of the United Shore Professional Baseball League, a small independent league near Detroit, before catching on with the Twins.
“There are a lot of guys in our clubhouse that come from all over the place, that have completely different backgrounds, but when you hear something so unique like this, it makes you say, ‘Wow,’ and it puts a smile on your face, really, hearing about it and watching it play out in front of your eyes,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Dobnak, 24, latched on with the Twins in 2017 and jolted through three separate levels in 2019 before receiving his first call up.
The starter began his season with Class A Advanced Fort Myers, where he bulldozed through hitters, posting a 0.40 ERA in four starts. A promotion to Double-A followed, where he recorded a 2.57 ERA in 11 games. The success continued at Rochester where Dobnak went 4-1 with a 2.00 ERA before getting the call to the majors on Wednesday.
With the strong performances across each level, Dobnak started putting his name on the radar.
“We’ve heard his name and a little bit of the backstory and things like that, probably having a little bit more serious conversations, baseball-wise, about him over the last couple of weeks,” Baldelli said. “He’s stepped up and put himself on the map and made himself an option for us and gives us a little bit of a different look, too, than some of our guys.”
To make room on the 25-man roster for Dobnak, the Twins sent Kohl Stewart, who threw three innings in Wednesday’s loss to Atlanta, back to Triple-A Rochester.
While the Twins remain on pace to shatter their single-season home run record of 225 in the coming days, their Triple-A team has already recorded the feat. The Red Wings did so on Wednesday, breaking their previous mark of 154, set in 1959. Home runs across the major leagues and Triple-A — which both use the same Rawlings ball — are up this season. … Baldelli said they didn’t have much of an update on Byron Buxton, who suffered a shoulder subluxation last week. “He’s been taking part in the rehab process and he’s been able to do everything we’ve proposed to him to this point but we’re still a little ways away from making any sort of determination or any sort of announcement.”