DETROIT (WOOD) — It all came full circle for Lowell native Kaleb Ort Thursday at Comerica Park.
While it was the home opener for the Detroit Tigers, it was sort of a homecoming for the Aquinas College alum and current Boston Red Sox’s player.
As far as playing baseball in Michigan, not much has changed.
“It’s as cold as I can remember it,” Ort said with a laugh.
The huge difference? This time he was doing it in a major league uniform and playing against the team he grew up watching.
The Red Sox beat the Tigers 6-3 in the game.
Ort didn’t pitch. Regardless, he said it was cool to look up in the stands and see his family and friends who made the trip down to support him in the professional ballpark of his home state.
“Family is everything, they’re your rock,” Ort said. “Through any highs and lows and the whole process, family is always there.”
Ort was not drafted to the Major Leagues out of college despite having good statistics while being a Saint.
From 2011-14 at Aquinas, Ort appeared in 34 games, 26 of them being starts. During his tenure of college baseball, Ort compiled a 9-6 record with a 3.71 ERA. In the 172.1 innings he pitched over that span, he totaled 173 strikeouts.
He was signed by Arizona in 2016 to a minor league deal and spent time throughout the minors and being traded until he was a Rule 5 Draft pick by Boston in 2020. He made his debut for the Red Sox in September of 2021.
The right-handed bullpen pitcher throws two pitches, a fastball that tops out at 98 mph and a slider that averages 79 to 83 mph.
In three years of on-and-off time in the MLB, Ort has posted a 1-2 record in 30 games with a 6.33 ERA, totaling 30 strikeouts to 16 walks. So far this season, Ort has pitched five innings in four games and allowed four runs on seven hits, while adding three strikeouts.
Ort would like to see the ERA go down, but he’s taking it one day at a time.
“I’ve been giving up a few runs here and there, but I need to keep grinding and working on what we’re working on,” Ort said. “It starts with mechanics, keep pounding the zone, trusting my stuff and going out there and getting the job done.”
With a long season ahead, Ort was happy to have a stop in Detroit early on and see his family and friends wearing the No. 61 with his name on the back, all in the place he grew up watching games at.
“When I was young I came here a couple of times obviously to games,” Ort said. “To play in the stadium, now that’s going to be fun. I don’t know how used to it you can get, it’s pretty cool to be up (at the MLB level). I feel like there’s always something to appreciate.”