Marcus Semien made the jog from the dugout towards shortstop – moving stride-for-stride with Tyler Saladino – and instead of stopping, continued on to left field for the first time in his professional career.
For those who hadn’t looked at the lineup card before Saturday’s 5-3 Knights loss to the Columbus Clippers, the sight of the two traveling towards short must have had all the drama of the water-pistol horse races you’ll sometimes see at the carnival.
This time, it was Semien who pulled away, leaving Saladino, who has also tried his hand in left this season, on the dirt of the infield.
The company line when Semien was reassigned to the Knights on June 1 was it was a way for the young infielder to get more at-bats. Internally, though, officials and coaches asked Semien to explore playing the outfield.
“They asked me to get an outfielder’s glove, so I do exactly what I’m told,” Semien said. “I took some fly balls when I was in Chicago in (batting practice) just playing around with it and when I got sent down, they told me to work on it a little bit more.”
It took Clippers’ leadoff man Jose Ramirez all of three pitches to put the 23-year-old to the test, sending a moon-shot in his direction. Semien took a few steps in and to his left, staggered just a bit, and came up with the ball.
“It usually does find its way to you,” Saladino laughed. “(Semien) did a good job. He made all his plays. All in all, it was pretty good.”
Columbus tested Semien again in the second, third and fourth innings, with Semien making a nice running catch on a ball destined for the gap in leftcenter to the delight of the 10,402 on hand at BB&T BallPark.
“I told the guys on the bench that you just knew the first ball was going to be hit in his direction,” Knights manager Joel Skinner said. “He did fine. He had one ball off a left-handed bat that took him towards the line and then he had a ball in the gap that he ran down. His breaks were fine.
Seemingly also satisfied were the Clippers, who went the game’s final five innings without sending a ball in Semien’s direction.
“It’s going to be kind of a rotational thing," said Skinner of where Semein will play going forward. "He’s going to play shortstop, second, a little third, and a little leftfield. It’s just a matter of rotating him through it."
Asheville 7, Kannapolis 5 (13): The host Tourists won on Raimel Tapia’s fifth homer of the season, a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 13th.
Hickory 8, West Virginia 7: Evan Van Hoosier, Ronald Guzman and Travis Demeritte all hit solo home runs to help lead the host Crawdads past the Power.
Saturday’s box score
Clippers 5, Knights 3
|Tyler Holt cf||4||0||1||0|
E — Davidson. DP–Columbus 1, Charlotte 2. LOB–Columbus 1, Charlotte 9. 2B–Danks, Sanchez. HR—Tekotte, Moncrief. SB–Holt. CS—Ramirez.
|Ramirez W 1-0||2||2||0||0||1||0|
|Lowe S 9||11/3||0||0||0||0||3|
|Axelrod L 2-6||6||6||5||5||2||5|
WP-Axelrod. T-2:52. A-10,402.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less