Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
In sports journalism, we tend to overuse certain words and phrases. One word we use far too frequently is "journey."
From The Huffington Post: "[Johnny Manziel] may be making his journey more difficult than it needs to be."
Here's a recent headline from NJ.com: "Michael Strahan's journey from New York to Canton."
And another from ESPN: "Smart's journey to Boston."
Really? Marcus Smart getting drafted by the Celtics qualifies as a journey? Michael Strahan's two-hour flight from JFK to Akron-Canton was so tumultuous we couldn't just call it a vacation?
No, a journey is what you call Steve Pearce's long, uphill climb to the major leagues.
Pearce, a .337 hitter since May 1, seems to have carved a spot for himself in the Orioles' outfield. But how did he get here? It wasn't easy. Join me as we look at the seven years of ups and downs that finally led to Pearce's big break.
September 1, 2007: Two years after the Pirates drafted him in the eighth round, Pearce finally made his big league debut against the Milwaukee Brewers. He went 2-for-4 with two singles.
July 2, 2008: Pearce failed to make the team out of spring training but played well enough at Triple-A Indianapolis to earn a promotion at the start of July.
July 10, 2008: Pearce's second stint in the big leagues lasted only a week. He went 1-for-3 in parts of three games before being sent down to Triple-A.
July 26, 2008: Pearce was called up to replace Xavier Nady in right field. Nady was dealt to the Yankees as part of a six-player trade.
August 22, 2008: Pearce failed to impress after the Nady trade (.218 AVG in 55 at bats) and was reassigned to Indianapolis.
September 2, 2008: Pearce was brought back to Pittsburgh as soon as rosters expanded from 25 to 40 players at the start of September.
September 9, 2008: In his 47th big league appearance, Pearce finally hit his first home run. It was a solo shot to center field off Astros left-hander Randy Wolf. Pearce homered three more times the rest of the season to finish with four home runs, 15 RBI and a .248 average in 109 at bats.
June 20, 2009: Pearce began the year in Triple-A but was promoted mid-season when the team cut ties with outfielder Craig Monroe.
July 8, 2009: A 1-for-12 stint in Pittsburgh led to Pearce's third demotion in less than a year.
July 23, 2009: By trading Adam LaRoche to Boston (who later dealt him to Atlanta), Pearce was able to finish out the year in the major leagues. His 2009 campaign included four homers, 16 RBI and a .206 average in 165 at bats. Pearce saw 41 starts at first base, 39 more than he had made in his previous two seasons.
April 4, 2010: Pearce had hoped to make the team out of spring training but was sent to the minors after hitting only .195 in 25 Grapefruit League appearances.
May 4, 2010: Pearce got off to a good start in Indianapolis and was quickly promoted to Pittsburgh.
May 19, 2010: Pearce cranked three hits against Milwaukee for his first career three-hit game.
May 25, 2010: Pearce was placed on the 15-day DL after spraining his left ankle. He was hitting .276 at the time of his injury.
August 4, 2010: Pearce's bad luck continued after suffering a knee injury during a rehab assignment. He underwent season-ending surgery in early August.
May 30, 2011: Pearce made Pittsburgh's Opening Day roster for the first time but was sidelined in late May after partially tearing his right calf. He was placed on the 15-day DL.
July 22, 2011: Pearce was activated from the DL after completing a short rehab assignment with Indianapolis.
August 22, 2011: Pearce broke his right index finger in a game against Milwaukee and was placed on the DL the following day. He would miss the rest of the 2011 season. Pittsburgh decided not to renew his contract, making Pearce a free agent for the first time.
March 27, 2012: The Twins gave Pearce a chance in spring training but he only hit .133 in 15 at bats. He was released shortly before the start of the regular season.
March 29, 2012: Two days after getting cut by Minnesota, Pearce caught on with the Yankees. He was immediately assigned to their Triple-A affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
June 2, 2012: Pearce was traded to Baltimore for cash considerations.
July 21, 2012: After a little over a month in the Charm City, the Orioles designated Pearce for assignment.
July 28, 2012: The Astros claimed Pearce off waivers from Baltimore. He suited up for them a day later in a game against Pittsburgh.
August 27, 2012: After hitting .254 across 63 at bats for Houston, Pearce was traded to the Yankees. The Astros received cash considerations.
September 25, 2012: The Yankees designated Pearce for assignment so Brett Gardner could come off the 60-day DL. Pearce hit .160 during his 12-game stint with the Bronx Bombers.
September 29, 2012: The Orioles claimed Pearce off waivers from New York. He was left off the team's postseason roster.
June 21, 2013: The Orioles placed Pearce on the DL with left wrist tendinitis. He was activated on July 31.
August 31, 2013: Pearce aggravated his wrist injury and was put on the disabled list a second time. The team activated him on September 17.
April 22, 2014: The Orioles designated Pearce for assignment to make room for relief pitcher T.J. McFarland. He was released by Baltimore five days later.
April 29, 2014: Pearce re-signed with Baltimore two days after his release.
June 24, 2014: Pearce extended his hitting steak to seven games. During the streak, Pearce hit .481 with six multi-hit games.
June 30, 2014: Pearce earned his first career multi-home run game in a win against Texas.
July 3, 2014: Pearce ripped a single to center field in the seventh inning for his fourth hit of the night. This marked Pearce's first career four-hit game.
July 9, 2014: As of today, Pearce (.324, 10 HR, 30 RBI) is owned in 95.2 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. That's a 25 percent increase from last week.
I'd say Pearce is here to stay but that's never been his MO. He's here now though. For fantasy owners, that should be more than enough.