Willie Calhoun and Jharel Cotton escape the heat at Futures Game.

Willie Calhoun

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Jharel Cotton

Getty Images


SAN DIEGO — Willie Calhoun and Jharel Cotton got a jersey, a hat, a break from the summer Oklahoma humidity and the memory of a lifetime Sunday.

Calhoun, a second baseman at Double-A Tulsa, and Cotton, a pitcher at Triple-A Oklahoma City, were the only two participants in the Futures Game at Petco Park from the Dodgers’ organization. Calhoun went 0-for-2 in two plate appearances, and Cotton threw three pitches. But there was more to it than that.

Cotton retired the only batter he faced in the seventh inning, Dylan Cousins, on an improbable catch by right fielder Eloy Jimenez in foul territory:

“That’s the best catch I’ve seen in my career,” Cotton said.

Because the World Team came back to score two runs in the top of the eighth inning (and held the lead by scoring seven runs in the top of the ninth), Cotton was the winning pitcher.

“I thought I was going to go back out for the eighth inning,” Cotton said. “The plan was, if we go ahead, they’re going to bring someone else in. I went out (to the mound) because they didn’t tell me anything. … They called me back. Someone was coming in. I thought that was pretty funny.”

In nine games since he went from the bullpen back to the starting rotation, Cotton is 4-1 with a 3.60 earned-run average. He’s limited opponents to a .169/.244/.292 slash line in that time.

Calhoun entered the game in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement at second base. He flew out to the right-center field warning track in his first plate appearance, against Ricardo Pinto. He later grounded out against Dovydas Neverauskas to end the eighth inning.

It wasn’t a great game on paper for Calhoun, who family came down from Northern California for the occasion, but his mood didn’t show it.

“This is the best baseball experience I’ve had in my life,” he said. “Just being able to compete with everyone is really cool.

Calhoun, 21, was a fourth-round draft pick by the Dodgers out of college in last year’s draft. He’s slashing .260/.326/.482 with 17 home runs and 58 RBIs in 82 games at Tulsa this season.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.