Cal Quantrill patiently went about rehabbing from Tommy John surgery for 15 months. The recent Stanford grad put himself on a rapid pace to playing baseball again and setting a goal to reach the major leagues in less time than it took for full recovery.
Quantrill, who showed plenty of promise in his one-plus seasons with the Cardinal, signed with the San Diego Padres on Monday and then took the mound in the bullpen at Petco Park to show off the four-million dollar right arm that prompted the Padres to make him their first round pick (eighth overall) of the First-Year Player Draft last Thursday.
"Signing a contract, making it official and being a professional baseball player is something I've dreamed about doing now for 15 years since I walked out there with my dad," Quantrill told Padres beat writers. "Now it's real."
Quantrill is no stranger to a major-league clubhouse. He accompanied his father, Paul Quantrill, who had a long, distinguished major-league career as a pitcher. San Diego was one of the family stops along the way.
The elder Quantrill pitched for the Padres 11 years ago, when Cal was not quite a teenager.
"San Diego's nice; I like this place," Quantrill said during his press conference. "I've got to get back here really soon."
It's been a pretty heady ride for the 21-year-old, who graduated three days after being drafted. He drove to San Diego immediately afterward, signing his contract the next day.
Quantrill, who worked out for professional scouts before the draft, is headed to Peoria, Arizona for extended training and possible action in the Arizona Rookie League.
The Padres are taking a cautious approach and Quantrill will be on a pitch count as he continues working his way back from surgery.
"Our medical team, Dr. [Heinz Hoenecke and his group, they were able to look at the MRIs, look at the doctor notes, look at the rehab notes that were very detailed," Padres general manager A.J. Preller told the team's website. "We've had the ability to ask a lot of questions about background, makeup, competitiveness and ability to follow a program."
Quantrill went 7-5 with a 2.65 ERA in 18 appearances, 17 starts, in his first year with the Cardinal. He was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 first team. He was 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts as a sophomore before being shut down with the elbow injury.
Palo Alto grad Christoph Bono, drafted by the Giants in the 37th round, Palo Alto resident Michael Tinsley, a seventh round pick by the Cleveland Indians, Menlo College's Lucas Erceg, who went to the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round,Stanford's Chris Viall, a sixth round pick by the New York Mets, Cardinal Jack Klein, taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 33rd round, and Stanford's Tommy Edman, a St. Louis Cardinals sixth-round selection, all remain unsigned.
Sacred Heart Prep grad Andrew Dauschbach, tabbed by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 40th round, will attend Stanford instead.