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Baseball nomad Sutton thrives with Pirates

| Thursday, July 5, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Christopher Horner
The Pirates' Drew Sutton is mobbed by teammates after homering to win the game against the Astros on Tuesday July 3, 2012 at PNC Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Drew Sutton is not going to the All-Star Game next week, but he will savor every moment of the Pirates' four-day break for the annual midseason game.

Sutton will fly home to Dallas to be with his wife, Staci, who is six months pregnant with their second child. Doctors have told her not to travel until after giving birth.

“It probably will be the last time I get to see her until October,” Sutton said. “I knew this year was going to be a difficult year. Baseball always presents challenges.”

So does life. Almost a year ago, the Suttons' first child, a daughter they named Carsyn, died due to heart and lung defects the day after she was born.

Sutton was with the Boston Red Sox when his little girl was born. He spent another two weeks in the majors after he rejoined the team but finished the season at Triple-A Pawtucket. He signed with the Atlanta Braves last winter, but failed to make the club out of spring training.

On May 20, Sutton was getting ready for a game with Triple-A Gwinnett when he found out he had been traded to the Pirates and was assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

“I was a little disappointed, to be honest,” Sutton said. “I thought the Braves were only going to trade me if it was a big-league opportunity.”

Five hours later, Pirates field coordinator Brad Fischer called with news that Sutton had been dealt again, this time to Tampa Bay. He was on his way to the majors, after all.

The Pirates reacquired Sutton on June 24, claiming him off waivers. When he got to Pittsburgh, Sutton sought out general manager Neal Huntington.

“I told him, ‘Thank you for trading me to Tampa,' ” Sutton said. “He didn't have to let me go to the Rays. And he didn't ask for anything more from the Rays than (the cash) they had paid (to Atlanta) when they first got me. To have a guy do that for you — give you a chance to play in the big leagues — doesn't happen a lot.”

Sutton ripped a solo home run Tuesday in the bottom of the ninth to deliver the latest in the Pirates' string of improbable, dramatic victories. It was the first walk-off hit of any kind for Sutton, 29, who has played for seven organizations over the past four years.

“Even guys like me, who bounce around from team to team, get a moment,” said Sutton, still drenched from the Gatorade bath he got from Casey McGehee. “When it happens, you'd better enjoy it.”

The Suttons' next child will be a boy and is due around Oct. 14. Sutton wonders if he might have to juggle being with his wife for the delivery around a possible trip to the playoffs with the Pirates.

“Hopefully, we'll be busy then,” Sutton said with a smile.

That's one problem Sutton wouldn't mind having.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or 412-320-7811.

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