Sox give Crestwood native Recchia gets another shot at bigs
BY STEVE MILLAR For Sun-Times Media June 12, 2013 10:36PM
Updated: July 15, 2013 7:36PM
Mike Recchia got his second shot at affiliated ball when the Baltimore Orioles signed him in December.
When that didn’t work out — the Orioles released him after Spring Training despite Recchia’s feeling that he pitched well — the Crestwood native figured that was that.
Recchia was content to stay close to home, spend time with his growing family and hope to continue to dominate the Frontier League for the Windy City ThunderBollts.
“I didn’t think (getting signed) was going to happen again,” he said. “I tried to not even think about it. I just wanted to enjoy pitching for Windy City and have fun.”
Instead, Recchia will get another shot to chase his major league dreams. After making his last start for the T-Bolts on Saturday in Rockford, Recchia got a call from the White Sox.
He signed and reported Monday to a mini-camp in Arizona, where he will spend the rest of the week before finding out where he is assigned.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Recchia, a Shepard alum. “I’m just meeting a whole group of new guys again and trying to get going.
“I’ve never taken anything for granted, but I appreciate this chance. My first time, when I signed with the Yankees (out of college) and was with them (in 2010 and 2011) it was like ‘This is great, I’m on top of the world.’ Then the second time with the Orioles, I thought for sure it was my last chance.”
Recchia, who won the Brian Tollberg Award as the Frontier League’s top pitcher last season, said when he first got the offer from the Sox, he was a bit hesitant to take it.
His wife, Ashley, gave birth to twins Miles and Nora less than a month ago and pitching for the T-Bolts allowed him the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the family.
“When I got the call, I was like ‘Is this the right thing to do?,’ ” he said. “I decided I had to go, because I didn’t want to regret it later. My wife was so supportive and I have to thank her for that.”
A factor that pushed Recchia into signing was that it was the Sox, the team he grew up rooting for.
“I worked at ‘The Cell’ in 2005 in concessions, selling sausages,” he said. “I always looked out on the field and thought ‘I can play here one day maybe.’”
Recchia was 1-3 with a 3.69 ERA this season for the T-Bolts. Last season, he went 11-3 with a 2.51 ERA and a league record 177 strikeouts.
“It’s tough to lose such a great pitcher, but that’s what we’re here for is to give guys these opportunities,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “He worked hard and he deserved it.”
Now Recchia will try to follow in the footsteps of Dylan Axelrod, who made his major league debut on the mound for the Sox just two seasons after pitching for the T-Bolts.
“The Sox have said ‘We’re not here to change you’ and that’s made me really comfortable,” Recchia said. “I just want to continue to pitch the way I have the last couple years. Hopefully I can do what Axelrod did and make it.”