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Mike Matheny Praises Vinnie Pasquantino’s ‘Unique Personality’

Matheny is proud of how Pasquantino carried himself on perhaps the biggest day of his life thus far.

The Kansas City Royals are on a four-game losing streak but, luckily, their defeat at the hands of the visiting Texas Rangers was overshadowed by the big-league debut of first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino. The club's No. 3 prospect made his first MLB start at designated hitter and while he went 0-for-4 at the plate, it was bigger than the final box score.

In addition to making some hard contact multiple times at the plate (the results will come later), Pasquantino's debut was extremely well-received by just about everyone at Kauffman Stadium. Fans gave him a standing ovation before his first at-bat, and his teammates were embracing him and his moment all night long. After the game, Royals manager Mike Matheny spoke about Pasquantino's likable personality and how it showed up in a major way in the major leagues. 

Mar 27, 2022; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Kansas City Royals designated hitter Vinnie Pasquantino (73) at bat in the second inning during a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

"He's just got a unique personality," Matheny said. "One: You see the teammates making their way to him a lot, and there's a lot of conversation. He wants to make everybody stand on their feet, and that was special at the beginning for him. To see the fans react like they did and to welcome him like that did, not a lot of players get that right when they get to the major leagues."

Throughout his illustrious minor-league career that saw him slash .293/.382/.574 with a .956 OPS in 242 games, Pasquantino wasn't known for just being able to get on base and hit home runs or doubles at a high clip. He endeared himself to his teammates and fans alike because of his immense maturity and likable personality, as Matheny mentioned. He understands that there's more to life than baseball, but he also makes it perfectly clear that he wants to win as much as anyone else. That mentality will help him early and often in his MLB career.

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The Royals cleared the way for Pasquantino's debut by trading first baseman Carlos Santana to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a pair of minor-league relievers. Santana, who was one of the best hitters in all of baseball in the month of June prior to being dealt, leaves shoes to fill as a veteran leader and well-respected player in Kansas City's clubhouse. Pasquantino's intangibles make him an ideal candidate to step in and make an impact both on and off the field, and Matheny knows it. He elaborated further on Pasquatino's important day, citing it as something he hopes will pave the way for even better things to come. 

"I was telling him how special that was and hope that was something he won't ever forget — which I know he won't," Matheny said. "His reply was, 'Now I've got to make them stand up for a reason.' That's just kind of how he thinks. We said from the beginning, he's got a great personality. I hope he continues to let that shine, and [with] him having the kind of production he wants to have, I'm sure he'll take it to another level."