The way it all started for Adam Duvall in the majors, one couldn't blame the slugger if he thought he'd never have to play in the minor leagues again.
Duvall got to watch Tim Lincecum throw a no-hitter in his first game in the San Francisco Giants' dugout. Then Duvall hit a homer during his big-league debut.
But Duvall always knew his lease was short, that his unproven track record in the majors could prompt the Giants to send him back to Triple-A at any moment. He also plays the same position as starting first baseman Brandon Belt, whose eventual return from the disabled list prompted Duvall's demotion.
"This game will humble you, humble you very quickly," Duvall said. "I respect the game too much to think I've done enough to stay up there. You always have to keep working, keep fighting.
"It definitely would've been nice to have stuck around there longer. It was an exciting time. As a competitor, I always want to compete with the best. But it's not easy staying up there."
Despite the emotional roller-coaster, Duvall continued his torrid hitting in his return to the Fresno Grizzlies, going 3 for 5 with two doubles, a run and an RBI. The Grizzlies, however, lost 7-6 to the Tacoma Rainiers after allowing two runs in the top of the ninth Sunday before an announced crowd of 3,369 at Chukchansi Park.
Grizzlies manager Bob Mariano, however, said he was impressed with Duvall's outing, especially since the cleanup hitter hadn't played or practiced in three days as he used the time to gather his belongings to return to Fresno.
"Usually, a guy's timing is off when he's missed that much time," Mariano said. "It's impressive what Duvall's done. He just goes back in the lineup like he never left. He always has the right mental makeup and attitude."
Duvall, 25, immediately showed during pregame warm-ups that he was ready to resume his demolishing of Triple-A pitching.
Despite a homer as his first major league hit, Duvall struggled in his brief time in the majors and went .167 (3 for 18) in five games.
But before his call-up June 25, Duvall was leading all Triple-A hitters with 23 home runs. In fact, his lead was so big that he still leads the category.
Duvall almost went yard during his second at-bat Sunday, but the umpiring crew huddled and ruled he hit a double off the painted concrete wall in left-center field.
"As exciting as it was for me and my family while I was up there, the fact is I'm back down here," Duvall said. "As a competitor, I want to compete with the best. But this is where I'm at. And it doesn't matter where I'm at, I want to be the best.
"So you go out here and try to have a good ballgame. You never know what's going to happen up there. If you don't hit here, they're definitely not going to put you up there. I want to show I'm still an option."
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