By Rick Eymer
He's played catch with Clayton Kershaw, pitched to A.J. Ellis and made an appearance at the Triple-A level. After eight years of professional baseball in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Jordan Pratt now catches footballs from Kevin Hogan at Stanford.
He signed out of Central High in Independence, OR in 2003, and his family home is a 20-minute drive to Reser Stadium in Corvallis, where Stanford plays host Oregon State at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
"I used to get 55 percent of the team's tickets but they've cut back this year so I've had to make a few calls to let people know I can't get them tickets," Pratt said Tuesday. "Every time we've been to Oregon I've had a lot of people there."
This week, there's even more reason for friends and family to attend. Pratt could see some significant playing time if receiver Devon Cajuste can't make it.
"Jordan stepped in and did a great job," Stanford coach David Shaw said.
Cajuste hurt his knee in Stanford's 24-10 victory over UCLA last Saturday and had to be carted off the field. Pratt was in the vicinity when his teammate went down. It turned out to be a bone bruise.
"It was tough to watch," Pratt said. "I was right there when it happened and your thoughts immediately become about your friend and teammate. I had to remind myself I couldn't think about it because I had a job to do. He was always in my heart and right after the game the first thing I did was try to find out how he was."
Shaw reported there was no ligament damage and the MRI came back clean, as did the X-rays.
"He's feeling better and there's a chance he will play this week," Shaw said. "If not this week, then for sure against Oregon."
Pratt, a 28-year-old, married, junior, caught his second career pass against the Bruins. He caught a two-yard pass in last year's win at Colorado.
"It feels great to play ball," said Pratt, who was his conference's Player of the Year in football, basketball and baseball as a senior in high school. "I feel like I have young legs."
Sophomore receiver Kodi Whitfield said the receiving group affectionally calls him "Pratt Daddy."
Pratt said he had always planned on returning to school, even had he reached the major leagues and had a long career.
"I really enjoyed it," he said. I plan on completing a master's program. It's been a process all along. It took awhile to come back."
Pratt can only marvel at how quickly running back Tyler Gaffney regained his football legs after playing in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for a year.
"That guy is a gamer," Pratt said. "It seemed like he never went away."
As for placekicker Jordan Williamson, there's also a chance for him to play against Oregon State.
"We'll see where he is," Shaw said. "He's close."
Neither Williamson nor Cajuste was expected to practice any time before Wednesday.
Meanwhile, senior defensive lineman Henry Anderson could return for the Thursday night game against the Ducks, but likely no sooner.