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IL notes: Frazier has glove, will travel05/02/2011 10:00 AM ET
By John Wagner / Special to MLB.com
Truth be told, Louisville's super-utility player Todd Frazier has six gloves, four of which travel with him as he and his Bats teammates look to claim a fourth consecutive West Division title in the International League.
While shuffling a player from position to position may not be the way most Major League teams treat a top prospect, Frazier said it has spiced up his second season on the circuit.
"It's fun, because I come to the clubhouse every day not knowing where I'll be playing," he said. "Some people could take that as a negative, but I take it as a positive.
"That means [Cincinnati] is trying to find a spot for me and knows I can play those positions."
So far this season the movement -- Frazier has spent time at first base, third base and left field -- hasn't affected his offense. He leads the Bats with five homers, and he is tied for the team lead with 14 RBIs.
This season Frazier has focused on third base, a position where the Reds have an older -- and injured -- player in 36-year-old Scott Rolen. But Frazier, who was drafted as a shortstop in 2007, has played all four infield positions as well as left in his brief career.
"They know I can play defense," Frazier said of the Reds. "For me, [getting to the Majors] is about being consistent with the bat and understanding that, if you are hitting and having quality at-bats, they'll find a position for you.
"They know that, not only can I play those positions, but I can play them well. I think I've mastered all the positions. But I have to be ready to play them all, so that's why I practice at least one before each game."
Frazier isn't the only Reds prospect who has made a position change in Louisville. Yonder Alonso, a first baseman who was a first-round pick of the Reds in 2008, has started 12 games in left field because Joey Votto has a hammerlock on first base in Cincinnati.
Alonso has hit .295 with three homers and nine RBIs in his first 21 games, but the low home run and RBI totals don't worry Louisville manager Rick Sweet.
"[Changing positions] probably affects [players'] offense at times, because they have to focus so much on their defense," Sweet said. "It's easier to play the same position all the time and focus on your offense.
"When you move around, you can't have maximum effort on your offense because you have to have extra effort on your defense. But do you know what? If they want to be in the Major Leagues with the Cincinnati Reds, they're going to have to make those adjustments."
Upside-down world: Some of the IL's better players in years past are at the bottom of the stats after the first month of this season. Andy Marte of Indianapolis, a postseason IL All-Star in 2009, hit just .156 in 20 April games; Jeff Frazier of Syracuse, a postseason All-Star last year, opened the year with a .163 mark; and Rochester's Jeff Bailey, the IL MVP in 2008, needed a 4-for-4 day on April 28 to give him a .214 average in 21 games. On the mound, Indy's Brad Lincoln is 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA, while Garrett Mock of Syracuse has 17 walks in just 11 1/3 innings.
The big three: Gwinnett has three starting pitchers who have started the season well as the trio ranks among the league leaders in ERA. RHP Rodrigo Lopez is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA that is second-best in the IL; LHP Mike Minor is next with a 1.75 ERA; and RHP Julio Teheran ranks fifth with his 1.80 ERA that goes with a 3-0 mark.
Clippers a perfect 10: Through Saturday, Columbus boasted an 18-5 record, the best in the league, thanks in large part to a 10-game winning streak. Offensively the Clippers hit .321 as a team in those 10 victories, collecting 16 home runs on the way to scoring 68 runs. Meanwhile the pitching staff has a 2.62 team ERA, including 77 strikeouts in 86 innings. Closer Josh Judy has a win and four saves in that period.
He said it: "It was a little bit frustrating not showing that I could hit up here last season. So it did serve as a motivator for this offseason. Worked a little bit harder and it's been so far, so good." -- Buffalo CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis to the Buffalo News. Nieuwenhuis, who last year batted just .225 in 30 games with the Bisons, was hitting .301 with a team-high 16 runs scored, four home runs and six RBIs in his first 24 games with the Herd this year.