DETROIT -- Rookie left-hander Joseph Ortiz faced fellow Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera for the first time on Friday night, and struck out his countryman with a 2-2 changeup.
Cabrera responded by yelling, "Wow!" and smiling at Ortiz.
It was a thrilling moment for the reliever.
"It's a gesture of respect," Ortiz said. "In Venezuela, any time you strike a guy out, it's a gesture of respect. It's a wonderful thing to receive a gesture like that from a hitter of his stature. It tells you what kind of guy he is when he gives respect to a guy like me."
Ortiz met Cabrera last year while playing winter ball in Venezuela.
"He told me I could be in the big leagues soon," said Ortiz, who was called up on Thursday and is in his third tour with the Rangers. He threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday, lowering his ERA to 4.50.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.