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Parker homers again in Rafters' rout11/11/2013 2:00 PM ET
By Danny Wild / MiLB.com
Kyle Parker can see the end of the road, and he's on a mission to finish strong.
"November gets pretty long and you start feeling tired," the No. 9 Rockies prospect said. "But I'm working on staying mentally tough and mentally ready for each game."
Parker was ready Monday when he hit one of three Salt River homers as the Rafters beat the Glendale Desert Dogs, 8-1, in the Arizona Fall League.
Parker went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer in th fifth, his fourth of the fall, after Kenny Wilson (Blue Jays) led off the game with his first homer and Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals) launched his first in the fourth.
"I felt good, I'm just trying to come to the park every day and go through my routine and play as good as I can," Parker said. "I just try to stay within myself and swing at good pitches. If I do that, I know good things will happen."
A former college football quarterback at Clemson, Parker's toughness isn't questioned. But for any baseball player who's endured an entire Minor League season and another month in Arizona, a break is important.
Parker, who has hits in nine of his last 10 games, said his time in football helped him prepare for the grind of playing every day.
"I wouldn't say it makes it easier, it's pretty tough doing this," the 2010 first-round pick said. "But the mental toughness and dealing with adversity prepared me at the same time."
Batting .282 with Glendale, Parker is coming off a big season at Double-A Tulsa, where he hit .288 with 23 homers, 74 RBIs and a .345 on-base percentage in 123 Texas League games. He produced nearly identical numbers a year earlier at Class A Advanced Modesto, when he finished at .308 with 23 home runs and 73 RBIs. His first season, with Class A Asheville in 2011, featured a career-best 95 RBIs in 117 games.
Since the power already exists, he's been focusing on his defense while in Arizona.
"[After] recently moving over to first, I'm trying to get better and more comfortable there," he said.
At 16-12, his Rafters are just behind first-place Mesa (16-11) in the AFL East, with the season ending later this week. A ring would be a nice ending to his autumn.
"It's just a bunch of guys that get along really well and are really good at baseball, there's no really added pressure," he said. "We just enjoy being at the field and getting better every day"
Salt River starter Sam Gaviglio (Cardinals) allowed one run on five hits and a walk over five innings to improve to 3-0. He struck out four.
Stephen McCoy (2-2) started for Glendale and threw 33 of 58 pitches for strikes. The White Sox prospect was charged with three runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings. Fellow Chicago prospect Jared Mitchell smacked a solo shot in the first, his fifth for the Desert Dogs.