Sean Kazmar makes it back to majors after 13-year absence

Atlanta Braves' Sean Kazmar Jr. bats during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Chicago. Kazmar Jr. returned to the major leagues after an 13-year absence, pinch hitting for the Braves. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Atlanta Braves' Sean Kazmar Jr. bats during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Chicago. Kazmar Jr. returned to the major leagues after an 13-year absence, pinch hitting for the Braves. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

CHICAGO – Sean Kazmar Jr. grounded into a double play — and sounded overjoyed.

“Definitely everything and then some,” he said. “What an amazing feeling.”

While Kazmar and the Atlanta Braves lost to the Chicago Cubs 13-4, his pinch-hit appearance in the fifth inning marked the 36-year-old infielder's first major league game since Sept. 23, 2008, with the San Diego Padres — a span of 12 years, 6 months, 25 days.

“Obviously wasn't the outcome we were looking for. A win would have been nice,” he said. “But what a good feeling — just last night when Snit told me and waking up and then getting that opportunity early in the game was awesome. But, again, yeah, man, amazing feeling, and hopefully stick around a little longer.”

Kazmar was in his hotel room Friday night watching the Braves' game on television and realized his odds of a callup were getting better when Ender Inciarte injured a hamstring in the fourth inning and Ozzie Albies Jr. was hit on the right calf by Justin Steel's pitch in the ninth.

“Watching the game and seeing everything kind of go down,” Kazmar said. “I tell guys all the time you never know in this game. And sure enough, obviously, I’m a testament to it. You never know."

He got a call after the game to contact Braves manager Brian Snitker.

“That was probably one of the greatest moments I’ve had as a manager at all the levels, quite honestly,” Snitker said. “It’s amazing. You go from ’08 to 2021, in between, you’ve got to be kidding me, to have the perseverance and the dedication and the drive.”