Eduardo Nunez has been one of the few bright spots in what was otherwise a largely disappointing first half of the Twins' 2016 season.
But the shortstop was all smiles on Monday soaking in his first Major League Baseball All-Star Game experience.
But injuries to Escobar and Plouffe forced Nunez onto the field regularly, and he hasn't come off of it. He's become the team's most consistent player this year – earning him a spot in San Diego.
"It's my dream come true," Nunez told Twinsbaseball.com Monday. "I'm going to enjoy it."
It hasn't been an easy journey for Nunez. He was signed by the New York Yankees in 2004, and was called up in 2010. After inconsistent play, the Yankees traded him to Minnesota in 2014 for minor league pitcher Miguel Sulbaran.
Nunez has maintained many of those relationships from his time in a Yankees uniform, and he's even continued to work out with a few of them during the offseason.
"When he first came up with New York, he was a guy that was trying to hit everything to the right side of the field," said former teammate Robinson Cano to the Star Tribune. "Something we have been working on every year is trying to use the whole field and just have your swing and not try to force the ball to the other way."
Cano added that all Nunez needed was a chance to play every day so he could show what he's capable of.
And produce he has. Nunez is hitting .321 with a career-high 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. He's also just three at bats away from setting a new career best.
Nunez is a reserve for the American League in the game tonight.