KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Tuesday, for the first time, Kansas City Royals RHP Jose Cuas stepped on the mound in a major league game. It was the moment he dreamt of as he made his way through adversity to become a MLB pitcher.
“It’s a dream come true, being a kid from New York, everything I’ve been through in my playing career, to be here in a Major League stadium with a chance to pitch — I can’t even say I dreamed about it,” Cuas told MLB.com. “It’s beyond my dreams.”
The Dominican-born right hander threw one inning and struck out one batter and had two groundouts.
Cuas’ journey to the majors began when the Milwaukee Brewers picked him from the University of Maryland in 2015. At that point, Cuas was an infielder before the Brewers decided to convert him to a pitcher.
Two years later, the prospect was released and Cuas was ready to call it quits. His brother Alex didn’t let him.
Cuas returned home to Brooklyn where he signed with an independent baseball team. He drew interest which landed him in Arizona. He had another shot at the majors in 2019 when he signed with the Diamondbacks, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he was released.
Cuas was ready to quit again, but his girlfriend stepped in to make sure that didn’t happen.
“I told him, ‘Don’t you dare do that. You are not going to quit. We did not sacrifice all this for you to quit,’” Anais Peña told MLB.com. “I was sacrificing a lot, yeah, and it was a crazy time — it still is — but we’ve come so far. And it was worth it.”
Again, he returned to Brooklyn and worked long hours at FedEx then would train with Alex at night.
His performance in the Dominican Winter League peaked the interest of Tony Peña Jr. on the Royals coaching staff and he was signed by the club in 2021.
He joined the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and eventually moved to the Omaha Storm Chasers in the same year.
In need of bullpen depth, the Royals called Cuas up on Monday. On Tuesday, he was called from the bull pen and took his first steps on the major league mound with his family and son cheering him on.
“It means the world. I know it means a lot more to them. They saw where I was at a couple years ago. They saw that I didn’t even want to play baseball anymore,” Cuas said to Bally Sports. “Being that I’m here now, thanks to them, I told them to enjoy this more than I would. I’m here because of them.”