D-backs' Drury homers to spark big inning in AFL

Third-base prospect acquired in Upton trade connects in back-to-back games

D-backs' Drury homers to spark big inning in AFL

Right-hander Roberto Osuna's outing Thursday in the Arizona Fall League began with an easy inning. Entering in the third in relief inning of fellow Blue Jays' prospect Sean Nolin, Osuna allowed a single and struck out two batters to maintain Mesa's early one-run lead against Salt River.

When Osuna returned to the mound for the fourth, however, the game changed. Brandon Drury led off the inning with a home run, kick-starting the Rafters' offense. They would bat around -- knocking Osuna out of the game -- and score six runs on six hits.

Thanks to that offensive outburst, Salt River defeated Mesa, 7-3. The Rafters have won back-to-back games and Drury has homered in both victories. Thursday, the D-backs' No. 6 prospect went 2-for-5.

Drury said he's feeling good at the plate, allowing him to capitalize when he gets a pitch to his liking, as he did in the fourth inning.

"I just got a good pitch to hit and I barreled it out," he said.

Drury joins fellow D-backs prospect Peter O'Brien as the only players with multiple home runs through three games. O'Brien, the club's No. 7 prospect, homered in each of the Rafters first two games before going 0-for-3 with two walks Thursday.

Drury and O'Brien spent the final month of the regular season as teammates at Double-A Mobile. Drury was promoted from Class A Advanced Visalia at the start of the month, while O'Brien joined the BayBears after the D-backs acquired him from the Yankees in exchange for Martin Prado in a Trade Deadline deal. Though injury limited O'Brien to four games in the final month of the regular season, he has already impressed Drury on and off the field.

"I don't know if I've ever seen a guy with as much power as him," Drury said. "And he's a really good teammate too. He's always working hard. He's a guy you respect and is fun to play with."

Drury also came to the D-backs in a trade. He was a part of the package the team received from the Braves in exchange for Justin Upton in January 2013. In his second season with the D-backs organization, Drury hit .299/.362/.510 with 23 home runs in 136 games between Visalia and Mobile.

Drury seemed to be in midseason form Thursday, as he sparked the Rafters' fourth-inning rally.

"Every pitcher tonight was throwing 95 [mph], so to have an inning like that against a good arm was pretty special," he said.

After the Rafters scored again in the fifth to extend their lead to six runs, the Solar Sox scored two runs in the sixth but would get no closer. Salt River right-handers Zack Jones and Kaleb Fleck combined for three scoreless innings to end the game.

The Solar Sox were led by center fielder Dalton Pompey, the Blue Jays' No. 3 prospect. He went 2-for-3 and stole two bases before he was removed to start the sixth inning.

Drury, like all the players in this league, knows he is in Arizona to continue his development. The D-backs want him to work on his defense at third base, which has been his primary position in the Minor Leagues, as well as second base, where he has played 12 games as a professional.

Drury hasn't appeared at second base yet this fall, but said he feels comfortable at both positions and is ready for whatever the AFL throws at him.

"I'm here to get my work in and to try to learn as much as I can on both sides of the ball," Drury said.

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.