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Huffman goes berserk in batter's box04/22/2011 12:49 AM ET
By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com
Chad Huffman last belted three home runs in a game approximately 13 years ago. He was wielding an aluminum "trampoline-like" bat back then.
Huffman, who turns 26 next week, likes his power stroke with the wood handle and barrel too.
The Indians' veteran Minor Leaguer went 4-for-5 with three longballs and 10 RBIs in Triple-A Columbus' 19-3 rout of visiting Louisville.
"It felt great to have it everything click like that," said Huffman, who had hit his first homer of the season Wednesday. "It's not something you can plan on.
"I'm starting to get that feel back that I had in Spring Training," he added.
He set Columbus' single-game RBI record and became the first Clipper slugger since Matt La Porta to go yard thrice in one game. LaPorta, now a big leaguer, accomplished the feat on June 9, 2010, though he drove in half as many runs that day.
Huffman doubled his RBI career high and delivered one more homer than he had for Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore against Modesto on May 18, 2007.
He plated at least one Clipper teammate in each of his six plate appearances, beginning with a first-inning single off of rehabbing starter Johnny Cueto (0-2).
"You always love to face a Major League guy," said Huffman, who had 18 at-bats with the Yankees last season. "Obviously, the ultimate goal is to get to the Major Leagues, so it's nice to face a guy like that to see where you're at."
Huffman also earned RBIs in a less ordinary fashion. Before walking in a run in the third, he grounded to shortstop and was ruled safe at first on a Louisville fielding error, but picked up an RBI when it was later ruled a throwing error.
Huffman plated five more runs with roundtrippers in the fourth and sixth. But he wasn't finished. He smacked an opposite-field home run toward and over right field for two runs in the eighth.
"The last at-bat, I don't even remember [what I was thinking]," he said. "It was just reaction. When things are going right, they are going right."
It hasn't all been right for Huffman during his six-year Minor League career. He was San Diego's second-round pick in the 2006 Draft, but has been waived twice in the past year. The Indians claimed him from the Yanks in September.
"You definitely want the front office to see it, and I'm sure someone [there] will," Huffman said of his big night. "I'm glad to have it, but baseball is an up-and-down game. I'll go on tomorrow and try to put up some solid at-bats."