A good first impression

A good first impression
In the big league: Tommy Medica '10 is now wearing no. 54 for the Padres. Photo by Kevin Liles/Getty Images
by Jeff Gire |
Another Bronco is in the majors after Tommy Medica ’10 makes an impressive debut with the San Diego Padres.

On Sept. 11, former Bronco Tommy Medica ’10, now of the San Diego Padres, made a smashing professional debut when he took Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies deep in his first MLB game. This was no flash in the pan either—before he got the call, Medica was leading the Padres minor league system in homers.

Alums may remember that another Bronco, Daniel Nava, made a big splash with a grand slam in his very first at bat for the Red Sox, which coincidently also took place against the Phillies. Nava currently finds himself in the thick of the pennant race and playing a key role for Boston.

Although the Padres are out of the playoff race, Medica is getting a long look as the team’s starting first baseman for the future. He’s already homered again and hit safely in his first five games.

For many players, just making it to the big leagues is an accomplishment, but the fact that Medica is even playing baseball is incredible, as the SCU alum battled back from what many considered would be a career-ending injury. One of the hottest collegiate prospects in 2009, Medica’s junior season was derailed by a disastrous slide into second.

A catcher at the time, Medica’s throwing arm suffered the worst. His shoulder was dislocated and the labrum completely detached from the bone. Unable to throw a baseball following the injury, Medica moved from behind the plate to first base where he continued to hit well, finishing his Bronco career with a .361 batting average, good for third-best in SCU history.

Because of the injury, MLB teams passed on Medica until the San Diego Padres drafted the slugger in the 14th round of the 2010 draft. In the seasons since, Medica made an impression with his bat, including his impressive debut.

But his ultimate goal is to not only continue hitting but to regain all of his throwing strength. Other athletes have bounced back from the injury, notably NFL MVP Drew Brees.

“Eventually, my goal is to catch again,” said Medica. “If I can throw well enough to catch again, my chances are going to get a lot better. It’d be huge. And my arm feels 10 times stronger than it did last year.”

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Spring 2014

Table of contents


Radiant house

Building a house for the 2013 Solar Decathlon. That, and changing the world.

Américas cuisine

Telling a delicious tale of food and family with chef David Cordúa ’04.

Lessons from the field

Taut and tranquil moments in Afghanistan—an essay in words and images.

Mission Matters

Carried with compassion

The Dalai Lama’s first visit to Santa Clara.

Farther afield

Building safer houses in Ecuador. Research on capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica. Helping empower girls in The Gambia. And this is just the beginning for the Johnson Scholars Program.

What connects us

The annual State of the University address, including some fabulous news for the arts and humanities. And the announcement of Santa Clara 2020, a new vision for the University.