Casey Sadler has had a busy summer.
The Dodgers’ relief pitcher began the season with the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and bounced back and forth between the majors and minors. Then on July 3, Tampa Bay traded Sadler to Los Angeles and he was optioned to the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.
Although the cities were different, the dance between the majors and minors was the same. The seemingly constant up-and-down never stops for “yo-yo” pitchers like Sadler, seeking to build a baseball career.
Sadler, 29, shared on the Sports Spectrum Podcast this July that life for many baseball players is far from glamorous. For him, his wife and his daughter, it’s often been filled with rushed departures, hotel stays and overnight drives in the RV.
“I feel like the minor leagues is the side of baseball that nobody really sees,” Sadler said on the podcast.
— Casey Sadler (@sadler_squared) July 22, 2019
But not everything has been a struggle. Sadler has also had a good summer.
He’s gotten to play the game he loves with one of the best teams in baseball. He’s helped the Dodgers to clinch homefield advantage throughout the National League playoffs, and they’re seeking a third consecutive trip to the World Series where, this time, they plan to finish the deal.
With the Rays and Dodgers, Sadler has had the best year of his career. He’s appeared in a combined 32 big-league games with a 2.18 ERA and 31 strikeouts — all career highs. He likely won’t make Los Angeles’ playoff roster this year, but he has likely positioned himself for a larger role in 2020.
“I’ve been grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given,” Sadler said.
Sadler was given that first opportunity for a career in baseball back in 2010, when the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him in the 25th round out of Western Oklahoma State. He grinded his way through the Pittsburgh farm system, and eventually made his major-league debut on May 2, 2014.
“I think a grind is the best way to put it,” Sadler said. “I knew that I had to overcome some odds. I had to work harder than the guy next to me. I had to try to maximize my time and I’m very grateful and thankful with what opportunities I got with Pittsburgh.”
Sadler appeared in six games for the Pirates during that season and one game the next year. Then in 2016, he was told he would have to undergo Tommy John surgery. He spent 2016 recovering and 2017 returning to his previous form, and in 2018, he again appeared in two games for the Pirates. This year, after toiling for almost a decade, Sadler finally broke through.
Sadler has found peace and stability through his roller-coaster of a career by placing his trust in Christ’s unfailing plan.
Sometimes you have to lose something good to make way for something great. It was an honor to fulfill one of our hearts desires and play for the @RaysBaseball, but time and time again, the Lord has proved his plans are far better than our own. We trust in him. https://t.co/mVxxHcIj5g
— Casey Sadler (@sadler_squared) June 29, 2019
“I think it’s letting go of the control,” Sadler said on the podcast. “Letting go of the things that we can’t see and just trusting, ultimately, that the Lord has a plan for our lives and has a plan for where we’re supposed to be and when we’re supposed to be there and how long we’re supposed to be there.”
Sadler said his parents introduced him to Christianity growing up in Stillwater, Okla. He was baptized around the age of 12, but it wasn’t until he and his wife attended a Pro Athletes Outreach conference that God truly showed Sadler what it meant to follow Him. At the conference, he and his wife rededicated their lives and their marriage to the Lord.
Now, in whatever city they may find themselves, Sadler said they often pray this prayer: “You have us where You want us; use us in this location. Let us use our time here to maximize the Kingdom and glorify You through baseball.”
Sadler has made stops all over the country during his winding baseball career. The life of a yo-yo pitcher can be draining. But Sadler finds his strength in Christ’s perfect plan for his life, wherever that may be.
The Dodgers will close out their regular season this weekend with a three-game road series against their in-state, division rivals, the San Francisco Giants. They will face either the Cardinals, Brewers or Nationals in the first round of the playoffs.
– NEW PODCAST: Casey Sadler, Pro Baseball Pitcher
– L..A. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is a ‘servant-leader’ on pace for winningest record
– Clayton Kershaw: ‘Being a dad is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me’
– Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen: ‘If you believe in God, He’s going to protect you’
– Nationals pitcher Aaron Barrett credits ‘faith in the Lord’ after battle to get back to majors