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Freeman answers the call for Rafters11/02/2013 1:44 AM ET
By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com
Mike Freeman wasn't pleased with his performance in a recent Arizona Fall League game, so he pulled himself aside and gave himself a little talk.
"I had a game a couple days ago when I had guys in scoring position and I was unable to execute," the D-backs prospect said. "After that, I sort of told myself to focus a little harder, grind out at-bats a little better. At some point in a career, those situations -- runners in scoring position with less than two outs -- are huge. You've got to take advantage."
Apparently, it was a very effective speech. Freeman went 2-for-4, drove in runs in three different plate appearances and stole a base Friday night, leading Salt River to a 6-2 win over Glendale.
He's hit safely in four straight games, picking up two hits in three of them. And he's stolen a base in three consecutive contests.
"I've been having good at-bats," said the 26-year-old infielder. "Fortunately, I came up with guys in scoring position and was able to get a couple RBIs and do what I can to help the team."
With the Rafters down, 2-0, in the second inning, Freeman came up with one out and the bases loaded. The Clemson product hit a potential double-play grounder but busted it down the line.
"That's all I was trying to do was get the run in, at least one," he said. "We were in the hole, and once you get that first run in, everybody settles down. I was just hoping to beat that throw at first and, luckily, I was able to."
Freeman swiped second, giving him four thefts in as many attempts in the AFL and Salt River a league-leading 38 in 21 games. He stole 29 bases and was caught 10 times over 131 games with Double-A Mobile during the regular season.
"It's been great. We've been feeding off each other and sharing information," he said. "Everybody is having fun, sharing the wealth whenever we pick something up, running when we feel comfortable. Obviously, we're not always going to be safe, but we've been safe a lot of times and we're having fun."
Freeman came up with the bases full again in the third and capped a four-run rally by greeting Twins No. 7 prospect Trevor May with a line drive single to center.
"I knew he had a good fastball," Freeman said. "I tried to shorten up a little and not get too big. I swung through two fastballs and I wanted to at least put the ball in play and give us a chance to score the run. I got a fastball and I was able to drive it up the middle."
Freeman capped the scoring in the fifth with another base hit to center.
"It definitely takes the guys in front of me to get on base and get in scoring position," he noted.
Freeman, a 2010 11th-round Draft pick, has played second base throughout his pro career but has seen time in left field and at third base for the Rafters.
"I've been playing all over the field, just trying to work on my versatility," he said. "I know there's value in having a guy who can play all over the field, so I'm trying to get more work in at different positions. But I'm benefiting the most just from being around a bunch of really good ballplayers. Everyone here has different information and different perspectives to learn from."
One of those players, Cardinals No. 7 prospect Stephen Piscotty, also went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
"I thought I had some good swings early in the game that I fouled off," Piscotty said. "I battled in my second at-bat with two strikes and I got a ball I could drive. I saw the ball pretty good."
Leadoff man Kenny Wilson (Blue Jays) was 3-for-5 with a triple and a run scored for the Rafters.
Marlins prospect Danny Black collected three hits and drove in both runs for Glendale.