Park’s Walter gets promoted to Class AAA

MIDLAND, Texas — Corey Walter admits there was a level of disappointment when spring training ended and he learned he was heading back to Midland, Texas as part of the Oakland Athletics’ Class AA affiliate.

The former Wheeling Park and West Virginia standout put that behind him quickly and just went to work.

“I thought I had a good enough season (in 2016) and spring to be in the conversation to start in AAA,” Walter said. “But, the organization signed a bunch of pitchers and I wasn’t the only guy in that boat. You just have to keep working and wait for the day you get the call.”

Walter got the call Monday evening.

After being told to cut a bullpen session short by his Rockhounds manager, Walter was informed he’d be pitching again today, which is just three days removed from his last outing.

“They told me to throw a little lighter,” Walter said.

Shortly after the game, he was called into the manager’s office and told he was being promoted to Class AAA and joining the Nashville Sounds, who are currently in the midst of a seven-game road trip.

“It was definitely exciting,” Walter said. “I finally got the call and the promotion I was looking for.”

Tuesday turned into a whirlwind for Walter. He was in Springfield, Mo., awaiting a flight to Dallas to catch another flight to Oklahoma City where he’ll join up with the Sounds.

Walter had hoped to be in town in time to join his new mates for their game on Tuesday. He’s slated to pitch tonight, but he’s not sure of his role since he’ll be working on still short rest.

“They just told me I was pitching (tonight),” Walter said. “I imagine it will be a start, but they might be bring me in as an extended bullpen. I am just waiting to find out and I’ll do whatever they ask me to do.”

Thus far, with Midland, the 24-year old owns a 1-0 record. He’s made three appearances and two have been starts. He’s worked 11 innings and has a 0.82 earned run average. He has struck out six and walked just one.

In his last outing, Walter worked four innings, allowing no runs and two hits, while fanning two.

“I’ve thrown well,” Walter said. “I struggled a little bit in the first inning of my first outing, but it’s been smooth sailing since then. It’s gone really well.”

Last season, Walter helped Midland win the league championship. He went 3-2, but he was on a strict 100-inning limit. He posted an impressive 2.15 earned run average.

Walter believes he’s headed to Music City for “the long haul.”

“I don’t think it’s a one start kind of thing,” Walter said. “They’ve not given me any indication that is going to be the case.”

Walter, who has only been to the Nashville airport, won’t experience his new home ballpark, which is only in its third season of existance, until April 27.

“I’ve never gotten to experience the city before and I am definitely looking forward to that,” Walter said. “From what I’ve heard, it’s a very nice ballpark.”

Being in Nashville, which is a nine-hour drive from Wheeling, will also allow his parents Roger and Char to see him pitch professionally for the first time.

“They’re definitely excited,” Walter said. “They’re already talking about making a trip down.”

Though Walter is excited about the next step of his journey, he knows it’s not the ultimate goal and plenty of work remains.

“I just have to continue to have the same approach I’ve had,” Walter said. “Keep taking it start to start. It’s not the end of the road, but it is one step closer. The ultimate goal is the big leagues.”