Homecoming for Poncedeleon

In his big league debut last month, Daniel Poncedeleon calmly went out and threw 7.0 no-hit innings for the St. Louis Cardinals. So how does he follow that up as he returns to the starting role tonight?

“I don’t think you can, but the only way it would be is to actually throw a no-hitter,” he smiled. “But hopefully, go out there and give our team a chance to win.”

Since that start, Poncedeleon has made five relief appearances for the Cardinals. Four of them have been of multiple innings, which makes it easier to transition back to the rotation.

“I’m always ready to go 100+ pitches,” assured Poncedeleon. “I train all off-season for deep seasons like these.”

Born in Anaheim, Poncedeleon graduated from La Mirada High School, where he was also the quarterback.

“I think I always envisioned me pitching, I don’t know why,” he said. “I told my dad one day that I wanted to be a bullpen pitcher because they had it easier–little did I know, that bullpen’s actually very hard.”

And though he was near the intersection of Angels and Dodgers territory, Poncedeleon grew up cheering for the boys in blue.

“Piazza was the guy,” he recalled. “Then as time went on it was Kershaw. Now, we like the Cardinals.”

And Daniel hasn’t forgotten the home town team overlooked some talent in their own backyard.

“The Dodgers never drafted me or even looked at me,” shared Poncedeleon.

A large group of close family and friends will be in attendance tonight, plus a few others could be stopping by to cheer for the hometown kid.

“My dad, he works on the Port of LA, longshoremen,” said Poncedeleon. “So a ton of longshoremen will also probably be there.”

photo credit: David Kohl, Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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