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Padres' Hedges hits first Double-A homer
Catching prospect goes 4-for-5 with successful suicide-squeeze bunt
04/20/2014 10:13 PM ET
Austin Hedges has eight RBIs in 12 Texas League contests this season. (Shawn E. Davis/MiLB.com)

It's not too often one of the best catchers in the Minors concedes four stolen bases in one game and still finds positives in the contest.

Most catchers are not Austin Hedges.

Unlike many elite defensive backstops, Hedges is more than just a one-dimensional threat, as he showed with a 4-for-5 performance at the plate in Double-A San Antonio's 7-4 loss to Midland on Sunday.

"I would like to think of myself as a complete player," Hedges said. "I'm not going to say one [part of my game] is better than the other. I would like to think my offense is as good.

"I thought I had a pretty good day. I was seeing the ball well, but any time you lose the game, it's not good."

MLB.com's No. 23 prospect singled in the third inning and smacked a solo homer to left field with one out in the fifth. After popping out in the seventh, Hedges singled with two outs in the ninth and dropped down a bunt on a suicide-squeeze play with runners on first and third and nobody out in the 11th.

"I got an 0-1 changeup," Hedges said of the long ball. "I knew [Drew Grainier] could throw offspeed ahead in the count and I got a good swing on it. I had a pretty good idea [it was gone].

[In the 11th], I knew I needed to get the bunt down and I was able to do that. Nobody was covering first base, so I was safe there too. [Rymer Liriano] was breaking from third … so I had to get it down."

It was Hedges' first Double-A homer and his 16th in pro ball, while his second career four-hit game raised his average 62 points to .271. He went 4-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs and a run scored for the Class A Fort Wayne TinCaps in a 9-1 win over Lansing on Aug. 15, 2012. He was caught stealing in that game too.

The 21-year-old would have led off the top of the 13th, but Blake Forsythe gave Midland a walk-off win with a three-run shot.

Selected in the second round of the 2011 Draft, San Diego's top prospect appeared in 20 Texas League games for the Missions last season after a promotion from Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, where he batted .270 with 30 RBIs in 66 contests.

The backstop hit .224 in 67 Double-A at-bats with San Antonio last year, but Sunday's performance suggests his bat could be coming around.

"I saw how pitchers like pitch," California native Hedges said of his introduction to the Texas League. "They're pretty smart and they have good game plans. I just have to stick to my approach and stay within myself. I have to hit the ball to the middle of the field."

San Antonio's Johnny Barbato (1-1) yielded four runs on four hits and two walks over 1 2/3 innings.

Midland's Blake Hassebrock (1-0) earned the win in relief after working around two hits to pitch a scoreless 12th. First baseman Josh Whitaker hit a three-run homer and leadoff hitter Billy Burns -- whom Hedges said "might be the fastest guy I have even seen in baseball" -- walked twice and stole his 10th and 11th bases, four off the Minors lead by Great Lakes' Malcolm Holland.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB.. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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