Results tagged ‘ Jimmy Paredes ’

Clark, Perez speak with Paredes

Astros bench coach Eduardo Perez and first base coach Dave Clark both had conversations with outfielder Jimmy Paredes on Saturday, a day after he crashed into teammate Jake Elmore and forced him to drop a ball that allowed the Pirates to score the winning run in the ninth inning

Paredes, who was in right field, didn’t see Elmore, the second baseman, waving his arms to signal he was prepared to catch the ball, at which point Paredes should have backed off. It was the second time in less than week Paredes ran into a second baseman. He crashed into Jose Altuve on Monday in Detroit and partially dislocated Altuve’s jaw.

“This is Major League Baseball and you can’t have those kinds of fundamental mishaps in big league games,” manager Bo Porter said. “It should not happen.”

Perez said he was honest with Paredes. He told him the play in Detroit wasn’t his fault because Altuve didn’t hear him calling for the ball, but on Friday he should have peeled off as Elmore was raising his hands.

“He was a little confused on how he’s going to look down and up at the same time,” Perez said. “It’s just him being a little bit raw out there, but he’s got to learn from it. I tried to tell him to switch positions [Paredes used to play second base] and think about when you’re a second baseman, what do you do? How do you call it? You call it by raising your hand and you’re expecting the right-fielder to see you. Now you’re a right-fielder and you have to see him. If he’s under the ball, he’s getting it.”

Veteran pitcher Edgar Gonzalez, who was on the mound at the time, spoke to Paredes in their native Spanish after the game and offered words of encouragement.

“He told me that happens in the game sometimes and he told me the most important thing is you and Elmore are fine,” Paredes said. “There were no injuries. Nobody got hurt. In the game, that situation happens. That’s what he was he was telling me. Just keep going.”

Astros cut 10 players from Major League camp

The Astros trimmed their Spring Training roster by 10 players on Sunday morning, optioning outfielders Robbie Grossman, Jimmy Paredes, shortstop Jonathan Villar and pitchers Paul Clemens and Dallas Keuchel to Minor League camp and reassigning outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, catcher Carlos Perez and pitchers C.J. Fick, Josh Zeid and Sergio Escalona to Minor League camp.

The moves leave the Astros with 39 players in camp two weeks shy of the March 31 season-opener against the Texas Rangers (that includes pitchers Jose Veras and Xavier Cedeno, who are competing in the World Baseball Classic).

“We open up two weeks from today, and even though it’s a long Spring Training, it feels as though it’s gone very quickly,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do here. We’ve got to get down to 25. Pitchers are going longer in games, we’ve got innings to dole out, we want to see our position players go a little deeper and have a few more at-bats as well.

“A lot of these guys we’re sending out today have a bright future in our organization, and they know they’ll be back. They need to go down and get regular work and go to their respective Minor League locations and show us what they can do. We know the 25 we start with are not the 25 we’re going to have all year.

“They’ve done, by in large, a good job and especially when you have a new staff at the big league level, it’s a clean slate for everybody. Everybody gets to know each other, and I think it’s been very good for a lot of these players to really take advantage of clean slate to go out and impress. When the time comes, our staff is not going to hesitate to want them back up here.”

Quintero heading to Houston for cortisone shot

Astros catcher Humberto Quintero left the team’s facility in Kissimmee early Tuesday to head to Houston to get his ailing back checked out. Quintero said he’s going to have a cortisone shot Wednesday and be back on the practice field Thursday with the hope of playing Friday against Toronto.

“I’m feeling better,” he said.

Quintero said trainers told him he could have some inflammation in one of the disks in his back, which could be pinching a nerve and causing discomfort down his right leg. He’ll be examined by team medical director Dr. David Lintner in Houston.

Meanwhile, third baseman Jimmy Paredes, who has yet to appear in a spring game because of left wrist inflammation, will face live pitching Tuesday afternoon on one of the Minor League fields. Infielder Angel Sanchez (back), whom manager Brad Mills said isn’t as far along in his recovery as Paredes, will take two sets of batting practice with the coaching staff and track pitches with Minor Leaguers. Mills said they’re both going to Viera, Fla., for Thursday’s game against the Nationals.

In other injury news, Carlos Lee is in the lineup for the first time Tuesday for the game against the Mets:

CF Jason Bourgeois

LF J.B. Shuck

SS Jed Lowrie

1B Carlos Lee

DH Fernando Martinez

3B Chris Johnson

C Chris Snyder

RF Brad Snyder

2B Jose Altuve

LHP Wandy Rodriguez

Mills sporting a black eye and a new watch

The Astros worked out on the stadium field at the Osceola County Stadium complex for the first time Friday morning in anticipation of Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Washington Nationals.

Before the players began to stretch, manager Brad Mills addressed the team and lauded non-roster outfielder Brandon Barnes for presenting him earlier in the morning with a Transformers watch. Mills’ watch was shattered and he suffered a black eye Wednesday when a ball came through the netting behind the cage and struck him.

“That’s pretty good for a young kid to do that,” Mills said. “I told the guys if we screw up on the time today, it’s Brandon’s fault, because of the Transformers watch.”

Here’s the latest on the Astros:

  • LHP Sergio Escalona, who injured his throwing elbow swinging a bat last week, will be shut down for a few days, Mills said. Escalona had an MRI on Thursday, which showed no structural damage.
  • Mills announced the next two starters in his rotation following Livan Hernandez (Saturday), J.A. Happ (Sunday) and Jordan Lyles (Monday).  Wandy Rodriguez will start Tuesday against the Mets, and Bud Norris will start Wednesday against the Phillies in Clearwater.
  • Among the relievers scheduled to pitch behind Hernandez on Saturday are Brett Myers and Brandon Lyon, who will be pitching in a game for the first time since May. Myers will throw one inning in his debut as Astros closer (he won’t pitch the ninth, however).
  • The batting order has yet to be announced, but Mills revealed his starters for Saturday’s game against the Nats: Chris Johnson (third base), Jed Lowrie (shortstop), Jose Altuve (second base), Carlos Lee (first base), J.B. Shuck (left field), Jason Bourgeois (center field), Travis Buck (right field), Castro (catcher) and Jack Cust (DH).
  • Third baseman Jimmy Paredes, who’s nursing a sore left wrist, took batting practice left-handed Thursday, but is still not cleared to swing right from the right side of the plate.
  • Castro, who missed all of last year following knee surgery and then had foot surgery in December, will catch only three innings Saturday. Mills said he’d like Castro to catch three more innings Monday and then perhaps four on Wednesday, depending on how he feels.

Players gather to stretch on the stadium field for the first time

Escalona to undergo an MRI

Astros left-handed relief pitcher Sergio Escalona, who injured his elbow swinging a bat early in camp, will be examined by doctors today and is scheduled to undergo an MRI, manager Brad Mills said. Escalona’s elbow didn’t respond well following his live batting practice session Wednesday.

Mills also provided health updates Thursday morning on pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (back) and infielder Angel Sanchez (back).

“Escalona’s arm, after he threw yesterday, just wasn’t where he feels it needs to be and really our doctors and staff feels it needs to be,” he said. “We’re going to get him some more tests on that to see where he’s at, so he’s probably not going to throw for a while with that. Wandy’s feeling better. Sanchez is feeling better. He’s still got some issues and we’re trying to bring him along slow with his back.”

Mills also said third baseman Jimmy Paredes has been cleared to take batting practice from the left side of the plate. He’s been dealing with wrist inflammation since January.

“We’re going to have to monitor him real close,” Mills said. “He’s still a ways away.”

Astros announce Minor League MVPs

The Astros player development department announced the 2011 Most Valuable Players for the team’s eight minor league affiliates on Wednesday. The MVPs, selected by the field staff of each team, will be recognized next Spring Training amongst their peers.

Triple-A Oklahoma City

Infielder Anderson Hernandez, 28, hit .300 (153-for-510) in 136 games and posted a franchise record 30-game hit streak, which lasted from Aug. 2-Sept. 2. His hitting streak was the longest in the PCL since 2004 and also tied for the 10th-longest in PCL history. He hit .365 (72-for-197) after the All-Star Break with a .430 on-base percentage. The switch-hitting Hernandez played all over the infield for the RedHawks, appearing in 63 games at second base, 48 games at shortstop and 41 at third base. He was originally acquired by Houston off waivers from Cleveland on July 21, 2010.

Double-A Corpus Christi

Infielder r Jimmy Paredes, 22, hit .270 (104-for-385) with 22 doubles, 10 home runs, and 29 stolen bases in 93 games. Paredes was recalled by Houston on August 1 to make his Major League debut and has gone on to hit .299 (46-for-154) with two home runs and 16 RBIs in 42 games as the Astros primary third baseman. A 2011 Texas League All-Star, the switch-hitting Paredes had never played above Class A prior to this season. He was originally acquired by Houston along with reliever Mark Melancon from the New York Yankees in exchange for infielder Lance Berkman on July 31, 2010.

Class A Lancaster

Outfielder Austin Wates, 23, finished his second professional season hitting .300 (158-for-526) with 38 extra-base hits, 75 RBIs and 26 stolen bases. The right-handed hitting outfielder finished the season in the top 10 of the California League in hits (158, T-6th) and batting average (T-9th) and led his club in runs scored (85) and RBIs. He was a third-round pick of the Astros in 2010 .

Class A Lexington

Outfielder Emilio King, 22, finished his 2011 campaign with a .293 average (106-for-362), 24 doubles, nine home runs and 42 RBIs to earn MVP honors. After beginning his season in extended Spring Training, King joined the Legends in May and went on to hit .400 (30-for-75) with 12 RBIs in 21 May games. He also had a big August, posting a .337 (30-for-89) average en route to Lexington’s Offensive and Defensive Player of the Month Award. King was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2006.

Short-season Tri-City

Infielder Matthew Duffy, 22, hit .298 (70-for-235) with 20 doubles and 37 RBIs in 63 games as the ValleyCats primary third baseman. Duffy, a 20th-round selection out of Tennessee in 2011 , signed with Houston on June 10 and began his season by winning Tri-City’s Offensive Player of the Month for July in his first full month in professional baseball. He went on to be named a NYPL All-Star and led his club in runs scored (36) and doubles (20), while finishing second in hits and RBI.

Rookie-league Greeneville

Outfielder Jordan Scott, 19, hit .337 (83-for-246) with 12 doubles, 31 RBIs and a .388 on-base percentage in 60 games for the Astros to earn team MVP honors. Scott also played 14 games for Lexington and five games for Tri-City this season, combining to hit .323 (100-for-310) with 15 doubles, four triples and 43 RBs in 79 games. He was a 14th-round pick out of high school in 2010 .

GCL Astros

Infielder Yonathan Mejia, 19, earned team MVP honors by hitting .329 (48-for-146) with 25 RBIs in 40 games. He played primarily second base, but saw most of his at-bats as the club’s designated hitter. He led the club in batting average and hits, in what was his second professional season after being signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2009.

Dominican Summer League

Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, 18, hit .274 (62-for-226) average with 13 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs and 35 RBIs in 65 games, in what was his first professional season. Hernandez led his club in doubles, triples and home runs and tied for the club lead in RBIs.

Altuve, Villar promoted; Paredes to 3B

The Astros have promoted 5-foot-7 second baseman Jose Altuve and shortstop Jonathan Villar to Double-A Corpus Christi from Class A Lancaster in a move that will move Jimmy Paredes to third base. Astros director of player development Fred Nelson said it’s time for Altuve and Villar to get tested at a higher level.

“Altuve is a guy that has come onto our radar screen,” Nelson said. “He’s continues to play well. He’s not a very big kid in stature, but he plays like a man and knows how to play the game and he’s a guy that’s a baseball player. There comes a point in time when we have to take notice of that and we certainly have.”

Altuve, 21, leads the California League with a ridiculous batting average of .408 (87-for-213) with five homers, 34 RBIs and a leading-leading seven triples. Villar, acquired by the Astros from the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt trade, was hitting .259 with four homers, 26 RBIs and 20 steals at Lancaster.

“We just felt the time was right to give [Altuve] an opportunity, and it gives the organization a chance to see how good of a player he is and how he adjusts to a higher level,” Nelson said. “He’s had a wonderful year offensively for us.”

Nelson said the Astros want Villar to focus on making better contact while at Corpus Christi.

“At times he overswings and comes off the ball,” he said. “He’s got enough power to drive balls in alleys and will hit some home runs. He needs to be more of a line drive, gap-to-gap guy, with better contact.  His defensive skills are really quality.”

Paredes, acquired by the Astros from the Yankees in last year’s trade for Lance Berkman, is hitting .265 in 162 at-bats as Corpus Christi’s second baseman. He’s made a team-high nine errors.

“We don’t have any problems getting him at-bats at third,” said Nelson, who added that Paredes could get time at second in the instructional league or the Arizona Fall League. “As much as anything, it’s a way to get two other guys on the club and get them all at-bats. He’s the most logical guy to move over and take some reps at third.”

In other roster moves, third baseman David Flores is being sent down to Lancaster after hitting .212 at Corpus Christi. Left fielder Daniel Adamson is going on the disabled list at Lexington and the Astros are bringing outfielder Jordan Scott, who’s in extended Spring Training, to join the Lexington club. Henry Rodriguez, a utility infielder, is joining Lancaster from extended Spring Training.Nelson sang the praises of 2009 first-round Draft pick Jiovanni Mier, a shortstop who’s hitting .259 with five homers and 27 RBIs in 170 at-bats at Lexington. He’s committed eight errors in 45 games.

“He’s really matured and is playing really, really sound defense,” Nelson said. “We really like what we’ve seen there. I think he’s right on track. I think he’s matured as a player, he’s not as hard on himself and understands the season’s long and there’s going to be ups and downs and you have to be able to deal with both. I’m really impressed with how he’s conducted himself and how sound he’s been on defense.”

Astros stockpile young talent

The Astros’ success from 1997-2005 was a product of some terrific front-office moves. They drafted well, made some key free-agent signings and weren’t afraid to trade away some of their top prospects to get players in return. When the big contracts become burdensome and the youth pipeline began to dry up, the Astros were forced to shift course.

What made matters worse was the disastrous draft of 2007, which led to a shake up in the front office. Ed Wade took over as general manager and was asked to rebuild a farm system considered one of the worst in baseball, and one of the first thing he’s he did was hire Bobby Heck as scouting director.

The 2008 draft produced catcher Jason Castro and pitcher Jordan Lyles, and the Astros are still waiting to see what the 2009 and 2010 drafts produce, though several of their top prospects came from those drafts, including 2009 first-round pick Jiovanni Mier.

But what Wade and his staff have managed to do is add even more young players to the system in the past few months with a series of trades, as well as the Rule 5 draft. Here’s a look at the moves the teams has made since July 1 that have netted 11 young players in return:

  • July 1, 2010 – Acquired infielder Angel Sanchez from Boston in exchange for Kevin Cash.
    Comment: Sanchez did a nice job at the plate while starting at shortstop for much of the second half of the season while Tommy Manzella was on the disabled list. Sanchez has no power and is limited defensively, but he has skills.
  • July 29, 2010 – Acquired pitcher J.A. Happ, infielder Jonathan Villar and outfielder Anthony Gose from Phillies in exchange for Roy Oswalt.
    Comment: Oswalt didn’t want to be in Houston anymore, and the Astros were thrilled to get the switch-hitting Villar, who immediately became one of the team’s top prospects.
  • July 29, 2010 – Acquired first baseman Brett Wallace from Blue Jays in exchange for Gose.
    Comment: With Lance Berkman on his way out, the Astros spun Gose to the Blue Jays for Wallace, who became the starting first baseman at the Major League level.
  • July 31, 2010 – Acquired pitcher Mark Melancon and infielder Jimmy Paredes from the Yankees in exchange for Lance Berkman.
    Comment: The Astros weren’t going to pick up Berkman’s hefty option for 2011, so he agreed to a trade to the Yankees. Melancon is a key part to the bullpen, and Paredes is a speedy third baseman who was put on the 40-man roster.
  • Aug. 19, 2010 – Acquired pitcher David Carpenter from the Cardinals in exchange for Pedro Feliz.
    Comment: With rookie Chris Johnson tearing it up at the plate, Feliz was done in Houston. Still, the Astros managed to get something for him in a trade. Carpenter was added to the 40-man roster and could be in the mix this year in the bullpen.
  • Dec. 9, 2010 – Selected right-handers Aneury Rodriguez and Lance Pendleton in the Rule 5 Draft.
    Comment: Both Rodriguez and Pendleton will compete for a spot in the rotation this spring, but they must remain on the active roster or be offered back to their former clubs (Rodriguez came from the Rays and Pendleton the Yankees).
  • Dec. 23, 2010 – Acquired left-hander Wes Musick and right-hander Jonnathan Aristil from the Rockies in exchange for Matt Lindstrom.
    Comment: Lindstrom was due for a big raise in arbitration, and the Astros were worried about his health and inconsistency last year. They got a pair of young arms in return who have some potential.

Astros position breakdown: shortstop

Our latest Astros position-by-position breakdown takes a look at shortstop, a position the Astros are going to be looking to upgrade offensively in the offseason:

SHORTSTOP

2010 Opening Day starter: Tommy Manzella.

2010 end-of-season starters: Tommy Manzella and Angel Sanchez.

Others who were in the mix in 2010: Jeff Keppinger, Geoff Blum, Anderson Hernandez, Matt Downs, Oswaldo Navarro.

Combined 2010 stats of Astros shortstops: .260 BA/.312 OBP/.321 SLG, 22 doubles, 2 homers, 54 RBIs, 40 walks, 127 strikeouts, 585 at-bats.

Free agents: Anderson Hernandez (Minor League).

Arbitration eligible: None.

What happened: The Astros went into last season ready to let Tommy Manzella show what he could do on offense, knowing all the while he was a Major League-ready defensive shortstop. Manzella struggled with the bat for much of the year, and came out the gate a little shaky on defense. But he got better with the glove as the season went on and blossomed into the defensive player the club had seen throughout the Minor Leagues.

Jeff Keppinger made a few starts at shortstop, but would soon be entrenched at second after the Astros cut ties with Kaz Matsui. That opened the door for Geoff Blum to get in some time at second base, as well. Manzella hit .224 in April and .192 in May before breaking his left index finger diving for a ball in late June and missing more than six weeks of the regular season. With Oswaldo Navarro and Blum the only options at shortstop after Manzella went down, the Astros traded catcher Kevin Cash to Boston for shortstop Angel Sanchez.

Sanchez hit .280 in 250 at-bats and impressed with the Astros with to put the ball in play. He went 4-for-6 and drove in a career-high six runs on Aug. 3 at St. Louis, but had only four RBIs over the next 31 games. Sanchez had only 13 extra-base hits, including no home runs, and proved to be a below-average defender because of his arm and his limited range. That’s why the Astros tinkered with him at second base, but he was still a better offensive option than Manzella.

Manzella, who hit .290 against left-handers, did end the season on the upswing offensively after coming back from his broken finger. He hit .261 in 69 at-bats to finish the season. He and Sanchez were splitting time at shortstop when the season came to an end.

What’s next: Manzella and Sanchez will back next year battling for a spot at shortstop, but the Astros will make it a priority in the offseason to find more offensive punch at shortstop, whether through free agency or a trade. That shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider the Astros managed only two home runs out of their shortstops last year. And when you consider the outfield is set and the club is committed to Jason Castro at catcher, Brett Wallace at first and Chris Johnson at third, adding offense at shortstop and/or second base makes the most sense.

Bringing in a new player could lead to a platoon situation at shortstop or even at second base, where Keppinger brings limited offensive tools. Depending on which player the Astros bring in, Manzella and Sanchez could be competing for a roster spot next spring.

Who’s on the farm: Jiovanni Mier, the Astros’ No. 1 Draft pick from 2009, is still considered the club’s shortstop of the future, but he’s a few years away. He’s off to a slow start, but he was drafted out of high school and is still making adjustments. He hit .235/.323/.314 in 131 games last season with two homers, 53 RBIs and 15 stolen bases at low Class A Lexington. The Astros are also excited about adding Jimmy Paredes and Jonathan Villar in the two deals they made at the trading deadline. They both are athletic, strong kids who bring speed.

 

Astros position breakdown: second base

Before we get to the latest in our Astros position-by-position breakdown, here’s a reminder that I’m currently fielding Astros-related questions and plan to answer them in the coming days via an Inbox. You can fire off you questions by clicking here.

Back to the task at hand. Our position-by-position breakdown takes us to second base, which for years was occupied by franchise icon Craig Biggio.

For the time being, second base is a position the Astros aren’t too worried about. Jeff Keppinger seized the starting job from Kaz Matsui early last season and was one of the team’s most consistent players all year. He comes with a relatively low salary and is a downright bargain based on his production, so things appear pretty set at the position after a tumultuous regular season.

Here’s a look at what’s going on at second base:

SECOND BASE

2010 Opening Day starter: Kaz Matsui.

2010 end-of-season starters: Jeff Keppinger.

Others who were in the mix: Geoff Blum, Anderson Hernandez, Angel Sanchez, Matt Downs, Jason Bourgeois.

Combined 2010 stats of Astros second basemen: .252 BA/.313 OBP/.345 SLG, 35 doubles, 7 homers, 59 RBIs, 56 walks, 57 strikeouts, 624 at-bats.

Free agents: Geoff Blum (option declined), Anderson Hernandez (Minor League).

Arbitration eligible: Jeff Keppinger.

What happened: Kaz Matsui, entering the final year of his three-year, $16.5-million deal, began the season as the incumbent starter at second, though he was actually platooning with Keppinger if you consider the number of starts each got in April (Keppinger had 12, Matsui 10). Matsui got off to an awful start and hit .141 in 27 games before the Astros cut him loose and handed the everyday job to Keppinger in mid-May.

Jeff Keppinger, 30, certainly didn’t disappoint and hit .288 with six homers and 59 RBIs in a career-high 514 at-bats. He was the team’s most consistent hitter all season and led the Astros in doubles with 34. He also struck out only 36 times in 514 at-bats while drawing 51 walks. Keppinger’s doesn’t have great range, but he made all the routine plays and was a steady hand at second base. He made only six errors, and his .990 field percentage was fourth in the NL among second baseman.

Keppinger missed 15 games in August after going on the disabled list with left big toe sesamoiditis, which was basically a stress fracture near the ball of his left foot. It forced him to take a few days off later in September, which allowed Anderson Hernandez and Matt Downs to make occasional starts. Veteran Geoff Blum also saw time at second, and shortstop Angel Sanchez was put at second on occasion when Tommy Manzella started at short late in the year. Outfielder Jason Bourgeois made a brief appearance at second base as well.

What’s next: Barring a trade or free agent signing, Keppinger will begin next season as the starting second baseman. The club admittedly needs to upgrade its offense and won’t shy away from a chance to add some pop at second base or shortstop, even if it forces a platoon situation somewhere in the middle infield. Sanchez will again be in the mix at second base, where he’s better suited than at shortstop because of his limited arm and range.

Who’s on the farm: The Astros used their No. 1 overall pick last year on Delino DeShields Jr., an outfielder who will be converted to second base from the outfield. He went to the instructional league to make the transition, but was slowed by elbow problems and was limited to designated hitter duties, though he did field ground balls at second and will continue to work at the position in the winter and heading into Spring Training next year. Jose Vallejo, acquired as part of last year’s Ivan Rodriguez trade with Texas, hit .111 in 99 at-bats in Corpus Christi. That was encouraging considering he severed tendons in two fingers of his right hand in a cooking accident late last year and had extensive surgery. The injury was believed to be career-threatening. He was a six-year Minor League free agent, but has re-signed with the Astros.

Jose Altuve was a South Atlantic League All-Star with Lexington before being promoted to high Class A Lancaster. He hit a combined .301/.357/.448 with 15 homers and 67 RBIs in 125 games. He stands 5-foot-5, but knows how to play the game, has outstanding hands, good speed and surprising pop. He’s liked by every guy on the Minor League staff. Jimmy Paredes, acquired in the Lance Berkman deal with the Yankees, hit .299 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 34 games with Lexington. For the season, he hit .287 with eight homers and 65 RBIs combined between Lexington and Charleston (Yankees). Other second basemen to keep an eye on are Enrique Hernandez (Tri-City) and Ben Orloff (Tri-City). The Astros also re-signed Wladimir Sutil, who can play shortstop.

In summary: The Astros like what they have in Keppinger, and he should provide a solid option until one of the Astros’ youngsters in the Minor Leagues shows he’s ready to take over. Who knows how long that will take, but the Astros are slowly building some quality depth at the position in the Minor Leagues.

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