SAN DIEGO - Alex Hinshaw arrived in New Orleans with the rest of his Tucson Padres teammates and checked into a hotel a few minutes past midnight.
Too tired to unpack, Hinshaw brushed his teeth and got straight into bed.
Minutes later, Tucson manager Terry Kennedy called the left-handed reliever and told him he was being promoted to the major leagues. He had to be ready to leave for the airport at 4:30 a.m.
"It was a good thing I never opened my suitcase," Hinshaw said with a smile.
The phone call from Kennedy to Hinshaw was one of the final moves of a several-step process when a major-league team decides to promote a player from the minors.
It's a process Kennedy and Tucson have become very familiar with this season. Nineteen times this season San Diego has promoted a player from Tucson.
Here's a look at the process from those involved.
A major-league club dips into the minor leagues for a player for one of two reasons. Either an injury has occurred at the big-league level and a minor-leaguer is needed, or the parent club decides to demote a player to Triple-A because of performance and needs another player.
For San Diego, the process of promoting a player is dependent on whether the move is based on an injury or performance.
"If there is an injury, it's fast-moving getting a guy here," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "There's a conversation between our front office and our minor-league staff. The dialogue is open and fast because something needs to happen quickly."
The decision to make a move on performance is more drawn out.
"That is over time," Black said. "That's something that's witnessed and you watch it evolve."
Relaying the message
San Diego bench coach Rick Renteria, who used to serve as the organization's Triple-A manager in Portland, agrees with Kennedy that the best part of being a Triple-A skipper is telling players they have been promoted.
Renteria said the manager usually finds out about the move from the organization's farm director and waits until after the game to tell the player.
If the move is because of an injury, a trainer - the only person in the dugout with a cellphone - is usually the first to find out, and he relays the message to the manager during the game, and the player who is going up is quickly removed from the game.
"There's a lot of evaluation that goes into it," Renteria said. "A lot of work. You try to keep it under wraps until the right moment when it's based on performance."
Renteria and Kennedy are both quick and to the point when they tell a player. Renteria said some managers like to joke first, but he would just deliver the news and enjoy the emotional response the player gave.
Heading to the big leagues
Once a player knows he has been called up, things move quickly.
The first action is always to call family and let them know the good news. In Tucson, the player then touches base with trainer Wade Yamasaki, who lets him know what the travel plans are and where and when to catch a plane to join the big-league club.
"You're just so excited and anxious and nervous, it's hard to sleep," Hinshaw said.
In Hinshaw's case, the Triple-A team was on the road. The next step was to figure out how to get his belongings from Tucson to San Diego.
Roommate Cory Burns packed all of Hinshaw's stuff into his car, so when the pitcher had his car shipped to San Diego, his clothes and personal belongings arrived safely.
"The first time I was ever called up when I was with the San Francisco Giants, I didn't have someone like Burnsy to help me out," Hinshaw said. "You're on the phone with the clubhouse guy from the majors and clubbie from the minors and trying to figure out how to get all your stuff into one box.
"It can be tough to deal with, but it's obviously worth it."
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