Texas outfielder Mark Payton connects on a two-run hit against Sacramento State at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Feb. 15, 2013. Payton has been added to the Cincinnati Reds' active roster. (Alberto Martinez AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

BEVO BEAT Baseball

After a long stay in the minors, ex-Longhorn Mark Payton finally reaches baseball’s biggest stage

Posted August 22nd, 2020

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A winding road that took Mark Payton through states like Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania has finally reached the major leagues.

After his contract was selected by the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, Payton was used as a pinch hitter in a 3-0 loss at St. Louis. In the first at-bat of his MLB career, Payton grounded out to end the game.

A seventh-round pick in 2014, Payton spent the past six seasons in the farm systems belonging to Oakland and the New York Yankees. In 2019, the outfielder hit .334 with 30 homers for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate.

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Payton seemed poised to make his big-league debut earlier this year. Payton was selected by Cincinnati in last winter’s Rule 5 Draft. He, however, was unable to make the Reds’ roster ahead of this coronavirus-delayed season. Payton was optioned back to Oakland, but Cincinnati re-acquired his services earlier this month.

Read more: An oral history of Mark Payton’s 101-game on-base streak at Texas

Payton played in the Texas outfield from 2011-14. A three-time all-conference honoree, Payton started for Longhorn teams that reached the College World Series in 2011 and 2014. Payton set what is believed to be a national record when he reached base safely in 101 straight games during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

UPDATE: Payton will make his first career start in Sunday’s game against St. Louis. Payton will be the Reds’ left fielder.

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