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Almora homers in short-season debut08/16/2012 2:16 AM ET
By Zack Cox / Special to MLB.com
Albert Almora is getting pretty good at making debuts.
The sixth overall pick in this year's Draft homered and singled in his first Northwest League game Wednesday night, but short-season Boise dropped a 13-5 decision to visiting Salem-Keizer.
The Cubs promoted Almora from the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he also homered in his professional debut on July 23. He went on to bat .347 with 13 RBIs, 18 runs scored and an .843 OPS in 18 AZL games.
Almora was informed of his promotion Tuesday before flying to Idaho to join the Hawks, who have a five-game lead atop the Eastern Division.
"I've been on a 14-hour plane ride to Taipei to play a baseball game in the Junior Olympics," Almora told the Idaho Statesman.
The 18-year-old center fielder is only three months removed from playing high school ball in Hialeah, Fla., but said the pressure of competing against older players does not faze him.
"It's just baseball," Almora said. "I'm used to this."
"He's played some big-time games," Hawks manager Mark Johnson told the newspaper. "He's above his years, maturity-wise and playing the game-wise. The guys in Mesa who have been coaching him the past three weeks have said nothing but really good things about him, about his makeup."
Almora was robbed of a third hit by Volcanoes left fielder Brennan Metzger, who made a diving catch in the seventh inning.
The Hawks also got a three-run blast from 2012 Moniker Madness champion Rock Shoulders but could not hold a 5-3 lead. Mac Williamson homered twice and Andrew Cain added an inside-the-park homer to spark Salem-Keizer's comeback.
Reliever Hunter Ackerman (0-1) took the loss after surrendering six runs on six hits over 2 2/3 innings.
Steven Okert (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings out of the Volcanoes' bullpen for the win.