As the season draws to a close, right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx said he believes he has proved to be more than a feel-good story, but also a big-league pitcher who hopes to be back next year.
Bibens-Dirkx, a journeyman minor-leaguer who finally made it to the big leagues at 32 years old, said he has answered the questions about whether he can or can’t.
“I showed that I’m ‘pitchable,’ ” Bibens-Dirkx said. “That’s been one of the questions and one of the reasons I haven’t been up: Can he get outs in the big leagues? Hopefully that has been proven ‘yes.’ ”
Bibens-Dirkx recently had his first “win ball” returned, decorated to commemorate the occasion. His first victory as a starter was June 11 at Washington. His line: seven innings pitched, three hits, one run, one home run, a walk and two strikeouts.
But when a minor league veteran of 11 seasons and 14 minor league teams, security will likely always prove elusive. Bibens-Dirkx joined the organization last season at Triple A Round Rock. He was called up May 7 and made his debut on May 17.
Bibens-Dirkx has pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen since June. He made his first appearance since Sept. 14 on Monday, giving up one hit and striking out two in two innings. The outing was his fifth in the month.
“I hope I’ve proven myself well enough to get a chance up here again,” Bibens-Dirkx said. “I know I have a lot less room for error than some people so I’ve got to keep my foot on the gas pedal and keep showing them I can get outs on this level.
“I would love to be back here next year and break with the team [out of spring training]. I’ve never done that either. We still have a few more games, and I’ll worry about that when it comes.”