Roman Quinn has been due to catch a break since last June, and if that sounds a little far-fetched, just ask the Phillies outfielder about his bad luck.
"It's been very frustrating," said Quinn, Philadelphia's No. 4 prospect. "It's out of your control."
Quinn missed the second half of the 2013 season with a broken wrist he suffered on June 24 and then sat out the first six weeks of this season recovering from a ruptured Achilles that sidelined him over the offseason. He finally debuted with Clearwater on May 19, and entering Thursday night, was stuck in an 0-for-23 slump.
"It was tough, frustrating," he said. "I was hitting the ball hard, but I wasn't finding any holes. After I got that first hit out of the way, my confidence boosted up a bit -- I wanted to get two more."
A rejuvenated -- and healthy -- Quinn went 3-for-4 with a season-high five RBIs and Jeb Stefan pitched five innings for his sixth win as Clearwater edged Bradenton, 7-4, in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader. Quinn, who struck out in the first inning, ended the slide when he hit a two-run triple in the third and then lined a bases-loaded double in the fifth before reaching on a bunt single in the seventh.
"I was just trying to get a hit, we had a man on third and I was trying to get him in and I caught a break and got in the run," Quinn said of his double. Two innings later, he cleared the bases en route to his fourth three-hit game of the season. "I was trying to work the other way and get some more runs, and I was able to drive the ball. It's good to get the bat on the ball."
The Phillies' second-round pick in 2011 rose through the system on his impressive speed and knack for getting on base -- he stole 30 bases in 66 games in 2012 and had 32 thefts in 67 games last year before landing on the disabled list. Things only got worse for his baserunning when he went ruptured his tendon over the winter while running sprints.
"I was actually running, I did a heavy leg workout and after that I ran some sprints, the third sprint I ran, I blew it out," he said. "It was pretty tough, but I had to stay positive. My goal was to get back half way through, and now I'm back and it's a blessing."
Quinn is 9-for-14 in stolen-base attempts this season -- after doubling in the fifth, he was picked off as he tried to steal third -- but he's remaining optimistic he will return to full strength this year,
"The first couple weeks [I was hesitant], but now it's getting better each day," he said. "I'm doing my stretches and my leg workout is helping me out. It's getting back to 100 percent. I'm happy to be back playing right now."
Quinn has also made the transition from shortstop to outfield, a position he played in high school. After starting the season at short, he officially made the move to center field on June 16.
"I'm loving the outfield man, it's where I always played my whole career," he said. "It's like riding a bike, once I got back in the groove, it's been great."
He's also managing the comeback at a higher level, one he's seen some modest success at so far after hitting .238 with five homers, 21 RBIs and a .323 on-base percentage last year at Class A Lakewood.
"I see a big difference, they throw breaking balls for strikes here, it's not like last year where it was always out of the zone," he said. "It's a big difference, I'm tested every day in each at-bat."
Clearwater (27-67) dropped the first game of the doubleheader, 7-2, when Quinn went 0-for-3 and the Threshers were limited to just three hits. Stefan (6-8) struck out four and was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks over five frames to pick up the win in the nightcap, while Bradenton starter Jason Creasy (5-5) was tagged for seven runs on nine hits over four innings for the loss.