The long road back for Chris McGuiness

TOLEDO, Ohio (WCIV) -- For two glorious weeks last year, James Island and Citadel great Chris McGuiness was a Major League Baseball player for the Texas Rangers.

This year, he's with a new organization -- the Pittsburgh Pirates -- and starting the long, tough journey back to the big leagues. Right now he's playing in Triple-A Indianapolis, but he spent the weekend on Toledo, Ohio.

On a minor league Friday night at a half-empty ballpark in a sleep old Ohio factory town, McGuiness doesn't complain.

"Right now it's 40 and rainy. Right now it's a grind, a lot of trips but I signed up for it. It's what you love doing, so go out and play the game," he said.

There are no more charter jets and sold out stadiums. He's playing against teams with names like the Mudhens, but McGuiness knows why he's there.

"I can be hot, but I can also be cold. I try to minimize the ups and downs, be consistent, put together good at-bats and good defense. That's the key," he said.

And he knows when it all comes together, one phone call could put him in Pittsburgh.

"I don't think about it; it's in the past. It was good when I was there, a good experience, and it's in the back of my mind. I know what I want to be and get to, but thinking too far ahead will hinder me," McGuiness said.

His trip to Pittsburgh might have gotten a bit tougher. Last week, the Pirates picked up Ike Davis, a man who's standing in McGuiness' way. But McGuiness says baseball is a very interesting game and he never knows what might happen.

"Not only am I playing for Pittsburgh, but for 30 other teams that scout us. Trades happen, injuries happen, you just have to keep your head down and keep playing," he said.

McGuiness was recently married in Charleston, so he has a wife and a dog to support. Baseball has quickly become a job for the James Island standout, but for McGuiness there's no better job to have when he knows a few food nights in towns like Toledo could land him the ultimate promotion again.

"My goal is to get there; I got there. I got the taste, now I'm trying to get back. It's harder to stay than to make it there," he said. "Hopefully this year I can have a good one, be productive and get my call sometime."

But that journey starts down on the farm -- in places like Toledo.

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