EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso Chihuahuas outfielder, Patrick Kivlehan, has traded in his red and black for red, white and blue. Kivlehan departed El Paso last week for North Carolina where he is training with USA Baseball ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Baseball was dropped as an Olympic sport after the 2008 Olympics. The Americans will look to capture their first gold medal in the sport since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Kivlehan hopes to play a part in gold and was selected to the Team USA roster earlier this month and has already smacked a pair of home runs in exhibition games.
“To be picked for this team is probably one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me,” said Kivlehan. “It ranks up there with being called-up to the big leagues.”
Kivlehan played for the U.S. in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. This time around, it was the San Diego Padres who helped get him back in a USA uniform.
“They [Padres management] actually contacted me,” said Kivlehan. “They said that USA Baseball had reached out, they had talked it over and they were going to support me if I wanted to do it. It was completely up to me and I didn’t take long to think about it.”
The Chihuahuas, who are currently 10-games under .500 and 9.5-games back of first place this season, will no doubt miss his bat in the lineup over the course of three or four weeks. Kivlehan is batting .274 with 17 home runs and 49 runs batted in. However, he has the full support of his of his manager in a, “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
“The San Diego Padres are very proud of [being represented in the Olympics],” said Chihuahuas manager Edwin Rodriguez. “They are very excited watching him go to the Olympics, which is sometimes once in a lifetime. That’s a big chance and we’re going to be pulling for him.”
Being an Olympian entails a great deal, and Kivlehan is thrilled be under the Team USA umbrella.
“I think it’s like the coolest thing,” said Kivlehan. “Opening Ceremony, seeing other athletes that you’re normally just used to seeing on TV, and it’s all just truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. Baseball itself is going to be really cool, but everything else that entails being at the Olympics I can’t wait to experience.”
Kivlehan will be joined in Tokyo by a pair of former Chihuahuas: Edwin Jackson and Tim Fedorowicz.