Trevor Brown hadn’t been asked to play second base as a professional until this season. The San Francisco Giants threw him into the fire with a full-time role for the Augusta GreenJackets.
Brown has responded with smoother actions and a better glove over the past few weeks, settling into the position after a rough start.
“I think he’s getting comfortable there,” manager Mike Goff said. “The biggest thing we’ve asked out of Brown from day one is make all the routine plays. I think to his credit he has worked his butt off pre-game and early work to make himself playable. Right now, he’s done a very nice job.”
Brown began the season with six errors in April. He has had just three since the beginning of May.
Brown is showing a quicker first step and better footwork on ground balls to both sides. As is often the case with struggling second basemen, grounders to the throwing-arm side can become troublesome from the effort required to make a backhand stop, pivot and throw to first base.
“His pivots are getting better,” Goff said. “He’s able to slow the game down a little bit, which has helped him.”
Brown was drafted as a catcher in the 10th round in 2012 out of UCLA. During his final season with the Bruins, he started all 64 games, divided between 42 at first base, 12 at catcher, eight at second base and two at third base. In 2011, he started the majority at second base, his most recent season playing the position full-time.
For Brown, staying at one position is already proving beneficial for his defense. But the GreenJackets have taken advantage of his versatility, starting him at catcher for three games.
GREGORIO RETURNS: The return of GreenJackets right-hander Joan Gregorio will kick off their three-game road trip today at Greensboro.
Gregorio will return from the disabled list to make his first start since April 25. He was pulled after two innings at Hagerstown with a strained oblique.
The 6-foot-7 starter was beginning to make waves in the South Atlantic League with a 1.42 ERA and just one walk to 25 strikeouts in 19 innings. After rehabbing in Arizona, he will look to pick up where he left off against the Grasshoppers.
The GreenJackets rotation will be pushed back a day to accommodate the return of Gregorio. With a day off Monday, that means Chris Stratton, who pitched Sunday, will have seven days between starts.
SHORTSTOP UPDATE: The GreenJackets placed shortstop Matt Duffy on the disabled list Thursday with a sprained right ankle. The following day, Alberto Robles was assigned to Augusta and inserted in the lineup.
The best way to describe Duffy’s condition is day to day, Goff said. He is at least a week away from returning, or it could be after the All-Star break before he is activated.
In the meantime, Robles is filling in with solid defense. The 22-year-old went 2 for 9 with a triple and RBI in his first three games. He played 13 games for Augusta in 2012 while playing the rest of the season in Arizona. This is his first assignment of 2013.