PHOENIX — While he was just starting to get used to seeing his father around on a more regular basis, the phone call Xavier Paul III received was certainly cause for celebration inside his Slidell, La. home.
“I told my son, who is five years old, earlier today that daddy was going to be on TV again and he started dancing and shouting,” said Xavier Paul, who the Arizona Diamondbacks called up before Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. “It’s exciting. I can’t wait to help this club.”
A week ago, Arizona was not even on Paul’s radar.
After failing to break camp with the Baltimore Orioles this spring, the 29-year-old journeyman spent the first four months of the 2014 campaign in Triple-A Norfolk.
While he hit 12 home runs and had 56 RBI in 81 games with the Tides, Paul was granted his official release Sunday.
He wasn’t long for unemployment, though.
D-backs general manager Kevin Towers claimed the former fourth-round pick off the waiver wire, purchased his minor league contract and directly sent him to Triple A-Reno earlier this week.
However, it turns out he was just visiting.
Despite going 0-for-4 Wednesday night in his lone appearance with the Aces, the call he had been waiting to hear all year had finally come.
“After the first game, [the Aces’ coaching staff] told me, ‘Hey you are going up to the big leagues,'” said Paul, who hit a career-high seven home runs and 32 RBI in 97 games with the Cincinnati Reds last season. “That’s one of the biggest surprises of my career that it happened that quickly.”
As D-backs manager Kirk Gibson explained it, Paul brings some power to the lineup and is a steady fielder at either corner outfield spot.
“I wouldn’t call him a flyer,” said Gibson. “But, he does run well either way. He’s a pretty good outfielder. He has some sock and pull power, but he’s a little more experienced [than Roger Kieschnick].”
That experience has come from playing parts of five big league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Reds from 2009-13. With that said, the 5-foot-9 outfielder has never stuck with an organization for longer than two years.
Although his duration in Arizona might ultimately be even shorter than that, he’s happy just to get another look — something that seemed like a long shot just days ago.
“It was just a grind every day in the minor leagues,” said Paul. “But I mean even last year in the big leagues, I played every game like it could be my last.
“To be able to get back up here and get another opportunity, it feels good.”