In between doses of disappointment and dishes of pasta, Maranatha High alumnus Dylan Covey received a call three years in the making.
The University of San Diego junior pitcher was informed Friday afternoon that he was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the fourth round with the 131st overall pick in the second day of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
“Honestly, I had no idea when I would get drafted. I thought I could have gone as early as the second round to as late as the fourth round,” Covey said. “I had no concrete idea and I had been receiving calls from teams yesterday and from a few this morning, including a few texts from the A’s’ San Diego scout [Eric Martins].”
Yet, anticipation turned into frustration when the second and third rounds passed without a phone call.
So, Covey stopped watching television and invited his father to lunch.
“I felt like some Italian food, so we headed to Domenico’s in Pasadena,” Covey said. “That’s when I got a call from Martins, who told me ‘He had my back’ and that I had just been drafted. So, after that, I had a quick lunch.”
Friday marked the second time Covey has been selected, as the 21-year-old Pasadena resident was originally taken by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2010 draft.
However, a standard physical exam prior to the signing of a contract revealed that Covey unknowingly had been playing with Type 1 Diabetes.
The revelation led the right-handed hurler to postpone his major league plans and instead opt to sign a letter of intent with the University of San Diego.
“Back then, I had absolutely no idea what to expect or how to even deal with or treat my diabetes,” Covey said. “My first couple of years on campus, I spent a good amount of time recovering and getting used to dealing with diabetes. Now I feel the healthiest I’ve felt in years.”
Covey posted a 5-4 record his junior season with a 5.05 earned-run average and 65 strikeouts over 76 2/3 innings accumulated in 18 appearances, 16 of those being starts.
“He’s been amazing along with his family. Never once did he get down and say that this was too much,” Toreros skipper Rich Hill said of Covey’s ability to cope with diabetes. “He really changed his nutrition, his diet and his workouts.
“He experienced failure for the first time, he faced adversity. Those things are synonymous with growing up and I think he’s ready for a major league career and heading toward that goal.”
Perhaps Covey’s most memorable game was his final effort on June 1 in the regional playoffs, when the 6-foot-2 hurler allowed three runs on four hits over 7 2/3 innings (his longest outing of the season) in a 6-3 win against intracity rival San Diego State, which eliminated the Aztecs from the postseason.
“I kind of went in that game with a thought in the back of my mind that this could be the last game I pitch for San Diego,” Covey said. “I wasn’t going to let us lose that game. We were swept by San Diego State to begin the season and we weren’t going to lose on my behalf.”
Back at Maranatha, Covey’s selection was affirmation for a program continuing to make strides.
“I think it’s a reflection of the excellence that we pursue,” said Minutemen athletic director Brian DeHaan, who was Covey’s coach. “For Dylan, being drafted couldn’t have happened to a greater kid.”