Jesus Aguilar has methodically climbed up the ladder in the Cleveland Indians system since being signed as a free agent in 2007. With eight games played for the Tribe this season under his belt, he has had a taste of life in the Majors and he was a starter for the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday in Durham, N.C. The Venezuelan entered the gala batting .284 with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs in 79 games for the Columbus Clippers.
The Clippers enter the second half riding a four-game winning streak and tied with Indianapolis for first place in the West Division of the International League. The two teams will begin a four-game set at Huntington Park on Thursday. Fresh off his appearance in the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, Aguilar is excited both for his experience he had in Durham and the remainder of the regular season.
Q. How proud are you to have been named to the International League All-Star team?
Aguilar: “It is a great moment for me and my teammates. I feel excited. I feel really blessed. When you come here to the All-Star Game, you meet so many great guys. I tried to have fun with everything around. It was great to come here.”
Q. How well does your selection and start at first base for the International League reflect on the Cleveland Minor League System?
Aguilar: “We [Cleveland] have so many good prospects, so many good guys. They sign good people. I have played for seven teams [in the organization] now. They don’t try to have them do too much. That’s why you see so many at All-Star Games. It is a great organization. The thing about it, they are good guys to us. The try to tell you what makes you better. They care about us.”
Q. Columbus is tied for first place with Pittsburgh Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis in the West Division after finishing the first half on a winning streak. How excited are you and the team for the second half of the season?
Aguilar: “We have a very good team. Everybody knows what they have got to do to keep it going. We have Indianapolis coming up. It is going to be good to get back and we are going to win as many games as we can.”
Q. Cleveland three of its top-four minor league teams in Ohio. What type of support have you seen from supporters of the Tribe as you have progressed through the organization?
Aguilar: “In Columbus and in Akron, it is close to Cleveland. We have good fans all over Ohio. They give great support and that is a good thing for us. It is good to play at home because they are always behind you.”