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Rizzo goes deep again in Tucson win05/22/2011 6:59 PM ET
By Josh Jackson / Special to MLB.com
Anthony Rizzo, who's plated more runs than any other player in affiliated baseball this year with 56, added to that number Sunday.
The San Diego prospect smacked a two-run homer, scored three times and walked twice in the Triple-A Tucson Padres' 16-7 romp over the Iowa Cubs. The longball was his second in as many games (although Padres manager Terry Kennedy had him rest Saturday), his fourth since Monday and his 14th of the season.
"What's working is trusting myself," Rizzo said. "I just go out there and play, really just having fun."
Rizzo, who came to the Padres in the December four-player deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, went deep on the first pitch he saw from rehabbing Major Leaguer Randy Wells in Sunday's tilt, giving Tucson a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
He admitted it was exciting to homer off a proven hurler like Wells, who's been recovering from a strained forearm since April 4.
"Of course, whenever you're facing a big leaguer, you always want to do well. But it feels like pretty much everyone at Triple-A has had success in one way or another in the big leagues," he added. "You get used to everyone being at that level all the time."
Rizzo is hitting .377 with a .451 on-base percentage and 29 extra-base hits in 40 games, while the T-Pads have scored 277 times, third-most in the Pacific Coast League.
"We definitely feed off each other," he said. "Hitting is so contagious in this game, at any level, and we've got a great team. We have a lot of fun on and off the field."
For the man who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in May 2008 and declared cancer-free that November following chemotherapy treatments, changing organizations has been a breeze.
"I adjusted in Spring Training, in Major League camp," Rizzo said. "It was really easy to fit in with all the guys, the staff and the front office. It was just really comfortable there. And then, when I was sent down in Minor League camp, it was still easy to be comfortable."
He faces one distinct challenge, though, in trying not to think about when that big league callup will come.
"It's hard," Rizzo said. "Obviously, I want to be there, in the big leagues. But I can't control it. Once I step on the field, my mind is set on playing those nine innings and I don't think about anything else. I try to take it one day at a time.
"Relaxing pays off. I don't think about it that much. ... It's going to happen sooner or later, but this team is a great to play with too."
So for as long as he's with Tucson, he'll be working on a few specific goals.
"I want to build off my success last year, hit for a little more average. Last year, my average was down for what I normally like to do," he said of his .260 mark. "I want to hit a lot of doubles -- doubles turn into home runs. Every time I'm up, I'm thinking about hitting a double."
It's working so far.