Exhibition series is homecoming for Wolters

Exhibition series is homecoming for Wolters

SAN DIEGO -- Tony Wolters did not expect to be joining the Indians during their trip to San Diego for two exhibition games this weekend. It was a welcome surprise when the catching prospect was informed that he would get the chance to head home.

"I'm having fun doing this," said Wolters, who is from nearby Vista, Calif. "I'm just honored for them to invite me."

Wolters, a standout at Rancho Buena Vista High School and rated the Indians' No. 9 prospect by MLB.com, was originally committed to play for University of San Diego, where the Indians played the Padres on Friday and Saturday. That plan changed when Cleveland selected the former infielder in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

As a high schooler, Wolters had the chance to play a tournament at USD's Fowler Park. During Friday's 16-4 win over the Padres, the 21-year-old catcher had two at-bats with an estimated 30 family and friends in the stands. Wolters said even more planned on attending Saturday's exhibition.

"I love seeing my family; I got to see my dogs last night, too," Wolters said with a laugh before Saturday's 9-8 loss in which he went 2-for-2 with an RBI. "They're the best. In the offseason I'm here too. I'm about 30 minutes north."

In 279 career Minor League games, Wolters has posted a .272/.350/.376 slash line in Cleveland's system. Last year, he began the transition to catching from the middle infield while at Class A Advanced Carolina.

Indians manager Terry Francona said the team invited both Wolters and Minor League first baseman Jerrud Sabourin to join the big league team on this trip because of their roots in the San Diego area.

"That's what we did it," Francona said. "There's no reason not to let the human side come into it. It's great for the kid, and his family probably thinks it's awesome, too."

Wolters was grateful for the experience.

"Being in the dugout with the guys, the chemisty everyone has, it's just really cool," Wolters said. "Being around everyone, it makes me just realize that I can't wait [to reach the Majors]. I just want to keep working and get here as soon as possible. That's the plan."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.