Strong week sends Florence’s Erik Ostberg to Double-A Montgomery Biscuits

  • Florence's Erik Ostberg figures he'll start this minor league baseball season in High A or AA. He' prefer being a High A every day player than not getting at bats at a higher level. COURTESY LUKE APRILE

  • Florence's Erik Ostberg is adjusting quickly in his return from injury to the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer missed much of the Class A season with a back injury. Steve Roberts/Bowling Green Hot Rods

  • Florence’s Erik Ostberg was called up from the High-A Bowling Green Hot Rods, pictured, to the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits on Sunday. BOWLING GREEN HOT RODS

  • Florence's Erik Ostberg is adjusting quickly in his return from injury to the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer missed much of the Class A season with a back injury.

  • Florence's Erik Ostberg is adjusting quickly in his return from injury to the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer missed much of the Class A season with a back injury. Steve Roberts Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 5/10/2021 8:14:51 PM

Erik Ostberg finally had his apartment set up how he liked it.

After moving to Bowling Green, Ky., a little over a week ago to start the Minor League Baseball season with the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Florence native is on the move again in the Tampa Bay Rays system. Ostberg crushed three home runs among six hits in 11 at bats over the course of three High-A games then received the call up to the Double-A Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits on Sunday night.

“I was really prepared going into the season. I was confident in the work that I had done,” he said. “I didn’t even play in every game. I was just so motivated to make a lasting impact on the games I did play. I felt confident going into whatever at-bats I saw knowing I was going to mash.”

The University of Hartford product homered in his first at-bat of the season May 6 at the Greenville Drive, the Boston Red Sox High-A affiliate. After taking ball one, Ostberg turned on the second pitch he saw pitch and sent it over the Mini Green Monster at Fluor Field — the same wall that all Red Sox affiliates have in their home parks.

Later in the seventh — the final inning of a shortened doubleheader — he was up with the bases loaded and Bowling Green down 5-3. He smashed a game-winning grand slam to right field with Greenville strength coach Joe Hudson, a Greenfield native who Ostberg worked with when he was in high school at Williston Northampton, in the home dugout.

“I’m definitely going to hold onto that one. There’s a lot of nostalgia when it comes to that side of it,” Ostberg said. “That was pretty cool. It was surreal.”

Now he’s on the road again. Ostberg and a few teammates drove the 12½ hours from spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., to Bowling Green. He’s making the almost five-hour trek to Montgomery, Ala., solo.

Reaching the Double-A level represents crossing a threshold for Ostberg. He’s been in rookie ball or variations of the Single-A level for the past four years. Only 13.5 percent of drafted players reach Double-A, according to TomahawkTake.com’s Fred Owens.

The milestone carries particular significance for Ostberg, who grew up attending Portland Sea Dogs games on vacation in Maine.

“It can help jumpstart my career and put me in a great position for the future,” he said. “I’m not expecting much different. The velocity is the same, everyone throws hard. It’s a matter of how sharp it is. It’s more polish and that makes it harder. I know all the guys, it’s not worlds different.”

Once he arrives in Montgomery, Ostberg will have to track down a new apartment and settle into his third city in a month. The Biscuits will play six games at home against Chattanooga this week before embarking on a two-week road trip.

“It’s one of those things about minor league baseball not a lot of people know about,” Ostberg said. “I don’t know where I’m going to live.”

But he knows he’ll belong.

“I was really locked in before,” Ostberg said. “This is not a surprise to me.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter
@kylegrbwsk.


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