Utility infielder on Durham's postseason run: 'What a great experience to be a part of'
By Ben Raby
Special to MLB.com |
BALTIMORE -- Daniel Robertson rejoined the Rays on Thursday rejuvenated, confident and ready to contribute down the stretch. He also returned from Triple-A Durham a champion.
Robertson had a two-run homer, three hits and four RBIs on Sept. 15 when Durham beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 6-4, to secure the International League's Governors' Cup. Four nights later, the Bulls beat the Memphis Redbirds, 5-3, in the Triple-A National Championship Game.
"It's awesome," Robertson said Thursday. "You get a group together like that, and to be able to do what we did, it was pretty fun. Tremendous job from the coaching staff and just all around, what a great experience to be a part of."
Time spent in Triple-A can have different benefits for different players, but rarely does it involve postseason experience. Robertson concedes that he was disappointed in himself when he was reassigned to Durham on Aug. 25, but the playoff run and the success he enjoyed in the high-stakes games could have a lasting impact.
"At the time, I was like, 'Oh man, I did this to myself,'" Robertson said. "But once I got down there, I sat back and realized the plan that the team had for me and how valuable it was for me to get those at-bats every day. And then to go on the run that we did down in Triple-A -- that stuff, you can't compare it. Now that I look back, it was awesome for me."
Robertson was back in the Rays' starting lineup on Thursday, playing shortstop and batting ninth. The Rays fell, 3-1, to the Orioles, but Robertson impressed, going 2-for-2 with a walk in his big league return. Robertson tied his season high by reaching base three times. He ripped a single to right field in his first at-bat that Baltimore's Austin Hays mishandled, allowing Brad Miller to score from second for Tampa Bay's only run of the game.
"He had some really good at-bats," said manager Kevin Cash. "He took a couple of pitches early on and then rifled a ball to the right fielder. .. Robbie, it's good to see him. He looked comfortable at the plate, obviously looked comfortable on defense, made a couple of nice plays out there and we look forward to seeing him continuing to play."
Although Robertson was limited to just 24 at-bats in the second half before he was optioned, he is expected to have a few more opportunities to make an impression before season's end.
"He's going to play," Cash said. "When we optioned him, we wanted him to get some consistent at-bats and that's not going to change. He's a young player that we think really highly of. We want to give him the opportunity to get out there and play some short and play some second and if [Evan Longoria] needs a day, maybe spell him at third."
"I'm just happy to be back up here and get some at-bats," Robertson said. "All in all, keep trying to help this team win and make this push the last 10 games or so of the regular season. Definitely happy to be back here and just happy to get rolling again."
Other Rays prospects who impressed in the Triple-A postseason include infielder Kean Wong and right-hander Brent Honeywell. Wong hit a grand slam in the National Championship Game and was named game MVP, while Honeywell, Tampa Bay's No. 1 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, earned the win with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
"[It's] a bunch of young and up-and-coming guys," Robertson said of the championship team. "When you get a core like that together, learning to win, it's only going to translate to the next level. Those guys will be flowing in here the next few years, and when you go through that with a team like that, those young resilient guys, some of the best teammates I've ever had, that's what it's all about."
Rays finalize deal
Tampa Bay acquired shortstop Osmy Gregerio from the Mariners on Thursday as the player to be named from the Aug. 6 trade that sent right-hander Ryan Garton and catcher Mike Marjama to Seattle for lefty Anthony Misiewicz and infielder Luis Rengifo.
Gregerio, 19, played 55 games in the Minors this season split between the Rookie-level Arizona Mariners and Class A Short-Season Everett, hitting a combined .220 with two home runs and 26 RBIs.
Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.