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FSL notes: Dugan follows own script
Former second-rounder living up to his billing with Threshers
06/26/2013 6:00 AM ET
Kelly Dugan is fourth in the FSL with a .408 on-base percentage.
Kelly Dugan is fourth in the FSL with a .408 on-base percentage. (Tom Hagerty)

Dennis Dugan has had a long and successful career making people laugh, whether as a character actor or the director of many of Adam Sandler's movies. His son, however, didn't have an interest in following in those Hollywood footsteps.

Instead, Kelly Dugan is taking a very serious approach to a different career path, one he hopes will also have a lot of people watching.

"We're both in the entertainment field," the hot-hitting Clearwater right fielder said. "And comedy isn't easy, just like baseball. A lot of work goes into both."

The younger Dugan has had a lot of stops and starts because of injuries since he was taken by the Phillies in the second round of the 2009 Draft, but now he is starting to live up to his promise.

"With him, it is all about being healthy," Clearwater manager Chris Truby said. "He can flat hit."

Dugan missed the first three weeks of the season after sustaining an oblique injury in Spring Training, but he has been at or near the top of the Florida State League batting race since accumulating enough at-bats to qualify. The 22-year-old California native hit .375 in four April games, .314 in May and .319 for June through Monday despite a recent cool down.

In 49 games, Dugan is batting .321 with eight homers, 31 RBIs and a slash line of .408/.532/.940.

For actors and directors, it's all about getting the right parts or the right cast. With a baseball player, it's about staying healthy. Dugan hasn't had very good timing there.

A graduate of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., he was set back by a staph infection during his second season and by hamstrings problems last year. Then came the oblique strain this season.

"Injuries are part of the game, but it's frustrating," Dugan said.

Dugan has also made the transition from a switch-hitter to just a left-handed batter.

"At first, he wasn't very good against lefties," said Truby, who also managed Dugan at Williamsport of the New York-Penn League.

That certainly isn't the case now, though.

Dugan hit nearly as well against lefties as right-handers last season while batting an even .300 for Lakewood of the South Atlantic League. He's doing even better against southpaws this year.

"They've got to throw it through the strike zone either way," Dugan said. "It's easier to work on hitting from just one side. You get more reps."

Dugan is hitting .400 (23-for-58) against left-handers and .288 (38-for-132) against right-handers for Clearwater.

"It doesn't matter to him who's pitching," Truby said. "He stays on the ball."

Dugan has worked hard to make that happen. Baseball, rather than comedy, was the interest he preferred to share with his father.

"My dad is a big baseball fan," he said. "I grew up going to Dodgers games."

Someday, Dugan hopes to be playing in Dodgers Stadium with the Phillies. If he makes it, there are sure to be even more Hollywood personalities in the crowd than usual.

In brief

Moving on up: Two weeks after third baseman Miguel Sano, the Twins' No. 1 prospect, was moved up from Fort Myers to Double-A New Britan, the Miracle got Minnesota's No. 2 prospect as a replacement. Center fielder Byron Buxton, the second overall pick in the 2012 Draft, was promoted from Class A Cedar Rapids after hitting .341 with 33 extra-base hits and 32 steals. Sano, who had a .330 average and 16 homers with Fort Myers, is No. 11 among MLB.com's Top 100 prospects, while Buxton is No. 18.

Sidelined: Daytona right-fielder Jorge Soler was placed on the disabled list with a shin injury and hasn't played since taking himself out of the Florida State League All-Star Game on June 16 after just half an inning. Soler, ranked No. 39 among MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects, is hitting .281 with eight homers and 35 RBIs in 55 games. The Cuban defector signed a nine-year, $30 million deal with the Cubs last year.

Back on hill: Dunedin righty Aaron Sanchez, No. 32 among MLB.com Top 100 prospects and No. 1 for Toronto, allowed one hit over three scoreless innings at Daytona on Friday in his first appearance in more than a month. He left a game with Brevard County on May 18 after tweaking a muscle in the shoulder area and was put on the disabled list. Sanchez, 20, is 2-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 10 starts, striking out 40 and walking 16 in 45 2/3 innings.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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