The remarkable Mr. Runzler
PHILADELPHIA — For a Minor Leaguer to earn promotion to a higher classification is accomplishment enough. To be summoned to the Majors is greater still.
With that in mind, what Dan Runzler has done this year is off the charts.
Runzler, a 24-year-old left-hander, began the season at Augusta, the Giants’ low-Class A affiliate. He ascended to high-Class A San Jose. He didn’t stop there, progressing to Double-A Connecticut and Triple-A Fresno. Finally, he impressed enough people with his 5-1 record and 0.76 ERA in 47 appearances to have his contract purchased by the Giants on Wednesday.
“Talk about climbing the ladder,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He took it a rung at a time to get here.”
Runzler, San Francisco’s ninth-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, credited ex-Giants left-hander Steve Kline, Augusta’s pitching coach, for hastening his rise. Runzler related that Kline advised him to “pitch to contact” — that is, let the hitters put the ball in play, albeit harmlessly. Runzler nevertheless struck out 83 batters in 59 innings.
“He’s phenomenal in all aspects of the game,” Runzler said of Kline, who he continues to consult by phone.
— Chris Haft