May 21, 2018
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UMaine’s Troy Black signs minor-league contract with Orioles

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

Troy Black had moved on with his life.

The former University of Maine infielder recently got a job in Mississauga, Ontario, and had signed up to join some of his friends on a senior summer baseball team in the area.

On Monday night, everything changed.

Black’s father, Chris, received a phone call from UMaine head coach Steve Trimper, who said he was trying to get in touch with Troy.

“I thought something happened with somebody else on the team,” Chris Black said of taking the call. “I was worried first and he said an Orioles scout wanted to get ahold of him. They wanted to sign him.”

Troy Black, whose cell phone is not in service, was attending a Toronto Blue Jays game. There, he received the message from his father, who called a friend’s phone.

“He said, ‘is this a joke?’ Chris Black recounted of the conversation. “I said, ‘no, I’m not joking.’”

Troy Black, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound second baseman, departs Wednesday afternoon for Sarasota, Florida, where he will begin working out with the Orioles’ rookie league affiliate, the Gulf Coast League Orioles.

Black has given up his restaurant gig, which was his first real job, for a labor of love — professional baseball.

“Would like to thank the Baltimore Orioles for the opportunity to continue playing baseball. Excited to be a part of the @ Orioles family.” he posted on his Twitter account.

Initially, he will only be practicing with the Orioles until he is approved for a U.S. work visa.

“Hopefully, the Orioles are a good organizational match for him and believe in his ability to grow and be useful and give him a shot, at least,” Chris Black said.

“I’m just so happy for Troy that he gets to have that opportunity for himself,” he added.

Once the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft came and went, Troy Black accepted his fate and was ready to move on to life without baseball.

Chris Black explained that Troy and the family are still pinching themselves to determine whether the situation is real. He was even hesitant to tell family members — until he saw the contract agreement with the Orioles letterhead.

“It’s pretty mind-blowing,” Chris Black said.

Troy Black is the second former UMaine standout to sign a pro deal this month as right-handed pitcher Tommy Lawrence previously agreed to a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Troy Black was a four-year starter for the Black Bears. Last spring, splitting his time between shortstop and second base, he batted .326 with two home runs, 27 runs batted in and 15 stolen bases in 19 attempts.

The lefthanded-hitting Black led UMaine with 71 hits and 29 runs scored.

The two-time All-America East second-team selection was an All-New England pick in 2014 and was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and earned a spot on the league all-rookie squad in 2011.

Black posted a .344 career batting average at UMaine, where he finished with 222 hits, 30 doubles, 105 runs scored and 52 stolen bases in 53 tries.


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