CINCINNATI -- One day after his first big league callup at 28 years old, Reds third baseman Mike Costanzo was still feeling shocked, happy and any other positive adjective you could think of. "All of the above," Costanzo said Sunday morning. "A lot of emotions are running around in my head. It's been quite a journey for me. I'm ecstatic about being here." Costanzo, who was not on the 40-man roster before his promotion from Triple-A Louisville, was called up to replace the injured Scott Rolen after he went on the 15-day disabled list. Costanzo pinch-hit in the fifth inning on Sunday and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
A native of suburban Philadelphia, Costanzo was a second-round Draft pick of the Phillies in 2005. There were plenty of twists and turns since, like the offseason after 2007, when he was traded twice in one month. First, he went from the Phillies to the Astros in a deal that involved Michael Bourn and Brad Lidge. Then, Costanzo went from the Astros to the Orioles in a deal that sent Miguel Tejada to Houston. In April of 2010, the Orioles asked Costanzo to switch to pitching, and he was released after he refused. He spent two weeks playing independent ball in Camden, N.J., but he did not consider giving up on the game. "I love baseball," Costanzo said. "Definitely being 28 and in Triple-A the last five years, going to indy ball and doing all of that stuff, it makes you wonder sometimes. Never did I want to stop playing." The Reds signed him in May 2010 and he's alternated between Double-A and Triple-A each of the past three seasons. In a combined 34 games this season with Louisville and Double-A Pensacola, Costanzo batted .303 with six homers and 24 RBIs. He will be a left-handed bat off the bench. "I saw him in Spring Training a couple years ago and I said, 'I like you.' He can stroke it," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "How come he hasn't played at a higher elevation for a longer period of time? You always want to see someone reach their goal no matter what age they are. " It's taken Costanzo eight long years to achieve that goal, which has made the moment all the sweeter. "A lot of guys never get the chance. For me to get it, it's been unbelievable," Costanzo said. "The best feeling was when I called my parents. It was awesome. They're on a flight from Philly."