All in the family: Preston Palmeiro brings familiar swing to Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, Md. - When it was time for the second day of the 2016 First Year Player Draft on June 10, N.C. State first baseman Preston Palmeiro was in front of his computer to watch every pick unfold.

He said that went against all the advice he had gotten.

“I didn’t really do a lot to help myself,” Palmeiro said Wednesday at Aberdeen’s Ripken Stadium. “I watched the whole draft. Everybody told me to avoid doing that and I did the opposite and watched it all. I just sat there for a few hours just refreshing Twitter and watching the live feed on MLB.com. Just tried to stay positive during the day.

“It was gut wrenching and nerve wracking. You don’t really know what is going to happen. It’s your future. But ultimately it’s a great feeling when you finally hear your name called.”

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For the youngest son of Rafael Palmeiro, Preston would hear his named called with the 211th overall pick in round seven. It was by the Orioles, the same team for whom his dad played seven seasons.

“It was incredible,” the younger Palmeiro said. “Leading up to the draft I spoke with the Orioles and I knew there was a chance it would happen. We had talked about how incredible that would be. When I called my dad and told him the news we were both ecstatic. It was awesome.”

After batting .337 with nine homers and 55 RBIs in 59 games as a junior at N.C. State, Palmeiro has played in 14 games with Aberdeen since signing. He is batting .255/.296/.294 with two doubles and three RBIs.

So how have his first few weeks been in pro ball?

“Competition-wise it is more consistent,” Palmeiro said. “It is kind of like a Friday night in the ACC every night. You have to be ready every night. The pitchers come at you every game and there is no one that doesn’t belong here. It’s been tough and it’s been fun.

“I’m just trying to have good at-bats and play some good defense. I am trying to make all the plays and save some errors for the guys on the infield. On offense, just want to do my part in the lineup and have quality at-bats, drive some runs in and just be productive for the team.”

For a while, it looked like signing Palmeiro could be an issue for the Orioles. It went down to the final two hours on the deadline day to sign July 15. In the end Palmeiro got the slot bonus for the 211th pick of $204,700.

“I knew that deep down I wanted to sign,” he said. “N.C. State has a special place in my heart but I knew that being a professional baseball player was my goal. So I knew on deadline day that we’d get something done.”

Now, about that famous family name that Preston must deal with daily. It makes him more well-known than other minor leaguers.

“There is good and bad with that comes with it,” he said. “I try to think only of the good things. I’ve benefitted from the knowledge of my dad since I was a kid. That advantage helped me learn at a higher level than most people. He’s helped a lot. It’s a blessing to have him.”

As for his swing, it clearly is a product of the Palmeiro family.

“I’ve been told there are a lot of similarities,” the younger Palmeiro said. “I try to not worry about how my swing looks but everybody that sees me play say it looks the exact same.”

Last stop on the trip: The Orioles play at San Francisco tonight, beginning the final stop of their three-city, 10-game road trip. The Orioles are 3-4 on the trip after Thursday’s 9-6 win over Oakland. Mark Trumbo hit a grand slam with five RBIs while Pedro Alvarez drove in three and Adam Jones added a solo homer.

Toronto did not play last night, so the Orioles (64-50) are now a half-game behind Toronto for first place with Boston in third, three games back of the Blue Jays in the American League East. The Orioles ended a 12-game road losing streak in AL West ballparks with the victory.

They have scored just five runs in the four losses on this trip while scoring 26 runs in their three wins, with games of seven, 10 and nine runs. Lately, it’s been more “all or nothing” than ever.

Does yesterday’s win finally get the offense going? How will the O’s fare this weekend?

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