Cue ‘Seinfeld’ jokes: Pirates recall Kevin Kramer, who joins Newman
Kevin Kramer was born just as “Seinfeld” was beginning to become a 1990s cultural phenomenon, and he was 4 years old when its final episode aired.
But with his last name, even if Kramer didn’t watch the TV show, he certainly is aware of it. And that became even more pronounced when he and Kevin Newman were the Pittsburgh Pirates second- and first-round picks in the 2015 draft.
The Newman and Kramer jokes haven’t stopped since.
“It is what it is,” Kramer said from the Pirates clubhouse Sunday morning. “Whether I am tired of them or not, it doesn’t really matter.”
Kramer smiled. He was in a good mood. After all, he just had been recalled to the major leagues.
Kramer was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday morning, the day before the MLB All-Star break. The Pirates needed an extra position player because of uncertainty with Corey Dickerson’s groin.
Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates were going to “going to do everything we can to” to avoid playing Dickerson on Sunday after he left Saturday’s game with groin discomfort. Kramer’s presence ensured four bench players were available Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Kramer has made 13 starts in the outfield for Indianapolis this season (nine in left, four in right), but he was drafted as an infielder and has primarily played second base in the minors.
He also has seen time at shortstop and third base.
“His versatility is probably at a high point of his career,” Hurdle said. “He’s played all over the field at Indianapolis. He’s been given some good professional at-bats, and he keeps showing up.”
Hurdle lauded Kramer for keeping a positive attitude despite the organization repeatedly passing him over when it needed Triple-A reinforcements this season (most notably Cole Tucker). Kramer spent five days with the Pirates in April but did not play any games. He did play 21 games as a September call-up last season.
“I feel like if I’m putting in the right kind of work every single day and going about it with the right attitude, I will be where I wanted to be eventually,” Kramer said. “And if it’s not at this moment, that’s OK. It’s part of the job, and we all know that.”
Kramer, 25, has hit .270/.351/.413 with 22 doubles, five home runs and 38 RBIs in 75 Triple-A games this season. With 735 Triple-A at-bats and five-plus years of pro experience, he likely has enough seasoning to stick in the majors if the Pirates have a spot for him.
Dickerson’s status for after the All-Star break is unclear, so it might not come now, though.
“At this point it’s about coming up here and being ready for whatever,” Kramer said. “If an opportunity presents itself, so just glad to be here and ready to help in whatever way I can and obviously it’s always good to be back in the big leagues.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .