Twins Pitcher Griffin Jax’ major league debut likely didn’t go the way he dreamt it would. But his relief appearance in Tuesday night’s game was historic, nonetheless. Upon taking the mound, Jax became the first graduate of the Air Force Academy to appear in an MLB game.
Minnesota’s 2016 third round draft pick, Jax made his debut in the ninth inning Tuesday evening against the visiting Yankees. A First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, the righty gave up three runs on as many hits, including two home runs, but also collected his first career strikeout in a 8-4 Minnesota loss.
The 26-year-old was called up to the big leagues last Saturday, June 5th after going 3-1 for St. Paul, a Twins Triple-A affiliate. Currently sitting last in the American League Central Division, the struggling Twins plan to use Jax out of the bullpen to provide a spark for a reeling pitching staff.
Manager Rocco Baldelli spoke to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on what the team expects from the MLB’s only active Lieutenant: “He’s a guy that if we need to bring into any kind of situation, really, he can go out there and compete. And he has plenty of pitches to work with. He adapts very well and will figure out whatever it is we’re asking him to do.”
Pitching struggles aside, becoming the first Air Force graduate to play in the majors wasn’t lost on the rookie:
Congrats to Griffin Jax for making his MLB debut last night for the Twins.
He becomes the first Air Force Academy graduate to make the big leagues.
"I’m truly grateful and excited to represent the Air Force in this capacity." pic.twitter.com/GPWgRuhq4Q
— Dave Althouse (@davealthouse) June 9, 2021
Jax and the Twins continue their three game series against New York tonight with the first pitch scheduled for 8:10 pm EST.