After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Traveler right-handed pitcher Scott Kuzminsky wasn’t ready to quit playing baseball. Not having any offers from Major League teams, he went the independent route and played for several independent teams. He finally got the call in July 2017 to join the Mariners in Everett (Wash.) to play in the A short league. Turns out Everett is also about 90 minutes from his hometown of Puyallop.
How did you end up in Hawaii?
I went to Bellevue Community College for two years which was 45 minutes from home. The head coach from Hawaii loved to come to Seattle, and he saw me in a sophomore showcase. There were a lot of scouts, and I threw really well. I had offers from Loyola Marymount, Ohio University and Hawaii. Hawaii is a good baseball school and was moving to the Big West. It was the best choice, and I don’t regret it.
After playing for several independent teams, what was your reaction when the Mariners called you?
I grew up a Mariners fans. Getting the call was crazy. I missed the call and a voice mail from the pitching coach because it was in the third inning of a game. I called back, and he asked if I was interested in pitching in Everett. Was I interested? It didn’t seem real. I always wanted to experience Spring training. I got to backup in a Big League game as a closer and had two saves.
What’s the different between independent ball and being with a Big League team?
There are a lot more resources. If you want to go to a gym when on the road in independent ball, you pay for it whereas now I don’t. More supplements are available and more resources like a strength coach and mental training coach.
What is your best pitch?
Slider then the fastball. I say that for two reasons. I can execute my fastball and am pretty confident in my slider.
Slider because it moves.
What do you do in the off-season?
My family has a Christmas tree farm, and I work there. It is a lot of work. We have 12 acres of trees and decorate everything. We also have a gift shop. My dad makes wreaths and my mom makes the bows.
Besides the Big Leagues, what are your goals?
Honestly, I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t playing baseball. I love the game and look forward to playing. For me, if I’m doing my job and enjoying it, then that is the best chance I have. It’s just a blessing, and I take it day-by-day.