Fightins

Big-hitting Andrew Pullin’s retirement is far behind him

Andrew PullinAndrew Pullin was drafted by the Phillies in 2012, as an 18-year-old kid in the fifth round out of Centralia High School in Washington. He immediately made an impact in the Gulf Coast League by hitting .321 with an .838 OPS in 41 games. The next three years with Williamsport, Clearwater, and Lakewood, respectively, Pullin struggled a little more, putting up a .263 average the next three years combined.

Then, at the end of spring training in 2016, at 22, he decided to hang up his cleats.

“I just had some family things I had to take care of at home,” Pullin said.

Spoiler alert: Pullin is back. His retirement lasted roughly a month, and he returned to single-A Clearwater in May 2016. He credited the Phillies for being there for him in his time away from the team.

“Everything is good now. But I’m glad I’m back,” the now 23-year-old said. “The Phillies were really great with everything and just glad to be back.”

After just 36 games in for Clearwater, where he hit .293 with 17 extra-base hits, the outfielder was promoted to Reading, where he continued his ascent. He hit .346 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 46 games last year with the Fightins’.

“I felt it was really good to just put things in perspective and clear my head and just focus on baseball,” he said.

Pullin was so good last year, the Phillies extended him an invitation to big league spring training this season. Though an injury kept him sidelined for much of the spring, it didn’t stop Pullin from taking everything in.

“It was great,” he said. “Just seeing how all of the veteran guys kind of go about things and do things. Unfortunately I got hurt early and didn’t get to do too much, but it was just a good time to be with those guys.”

This year he’s continued to rake. The Washington native is hitting .315/.378/.574 with 13 home runs and a team-leading 40 RBI. The left fielder has put himself on the map in the Phils organization. It was evident the time off helped.

“Learning what I can do and being consistent at the plate,” Pullin said when asked about what changed. “Looking for the pitches I can do damage with and not chase anything out of the zone, and focusing on consistency with that.”

Pullin has now put himself in the mix with all of the young outfielders the Phils have in their system. With more than two months left in the minor league season and potential promotions coming for triple-A outfielders, it’s realistic that space can be cleared for Pullin. At this rate, it’s just a matter of this season or next.

“It’s what I always worked for, getting called up and going to the next level, but I can’t really control when that is,” he said. “I just focus on each at bat, one at a time.”

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