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Alberto Robles making 'believer' out of GreenJackets manager

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Since arriving May 31, Augusta GreenJackets infielder Alberto Robles has received praise from staff and players while being a consistent producer on the field.

Robles entered the week hitting .316 with seven doubles and 12 stolen bases, adding a .377 on-base percentage while playing steady defense up the middle. His batting average leads all GreenJackets.

Robles has taken a firmer grasp of the South Atlantic League after struggling in a brief stint last season. He recorded just seven singles in 45 plate appearances for Augusta after hitting well with the Arizona League Giants, prompting a return to the GreenJackets for all of 2013 so far.

The patience is paying off for Augusta, which has received solid defense from him at second base and shortstop. He has looked especially comfortable at second, showing a solid pivot and release on double plays balls, and flashing good range to both sides.

“He has been so big for us,” manager Mike Goff said. “Defensively, offensively, running the bases, he’s made a believer out of me. He just has fun playing the game; that’s the thing about it. He always has a smile on his face, always having a good time.”

Goff has hit Robles eighth and ninth in the lineup for most of his time in Augusta, but the manager was forced to move him up to second in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader because of the hot bat. He responded with a walk and run after going
3 for 3 in Game 1.

“I keep trying to hide him down in that nine hole and he keeps ambushing fastballs,” Goff said. “He’s using the entire field. He’s been playing that way since he got here.”

VERSATILE HOUCK: With a limited roster because of injuries, and doubleheaders that stretch the position players even more, Shayne Houck is taking advantage of the opportunity by showing versatility in the field.

Houck doubled his season total for games appeared in the outfield on Sunday by starting and playing both games of a doubleheader in left field. Houck showed the same strong arm that has helped him at third base over 24 games this season, while displaying good range to get to balls down the left field line. He also reads fly balls well for a player with no previous outfield experience as a professional.

Houck has been limited to designated hitter for much of the season because of the added infielders on the GreenJackets roster, but a stretched outfield could mean more starts in left for him. His offensive numbers have remained as steady as the mechanics of his right-handed swing, hitting .250 with 18 doubles and four home runs while showing solid plate discipline, walking 34 times and recording a .345 on-base percentage.

The outfield has become stretched with the loss of center fielder Jesus Galindo to the disabled list for the second time since late July. Galindo initially went on the disabled list with a pulled quad, and he appeared in just two games last week before sitting again.


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