A promotion typically ushers in a time when almost everything is new. New teammates, new coaches, new opponents. But when Christian Colon was assigned to Triple-A Omaha for the first time this week, there was an air of familiarity to his new surroundings.
"The transition has been really normal, I don't know how to put it other than that," he said. "I was with the Triple-A team in Spring Training, so I know a lot of the guys and the staff from that. It's been normal for me and, personally, I love that."
That much was evident Saturday night as the Royals' No. 10 prospect played his third game in the Pacific Coast League. Colon slugged his first Triple-A homer, doubled, walked, drove in two runs and scored twice in the Omaha Storm Chasers' 7-2 victory at Tucson.
The blast came in Colon's first at-bat on a 2-1 changeup from Padres starter Tim Stauffer. The second-inning homer, which found room inside the left-field foul pole, was his first since June 3 for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
If seeing his old friends wasn't enough for Colon to feel comfortable at his new level, the homer did the trick.
"That was huge," he said. "To get off to a good start is always what you're looking for in these situations. You tell yourself it's the same you've always played, but it's nice to get a little confidence-boost, too.
"At the same time, you just have to do what you gotta do to succeed here. Some of these guys have been in the Major Leagues, so you know there will be an adjustment period. I'm just happy to find some success here."
The accomplishments of the fourth overall pick in the 2010 Draft followed some more modest ones in the Texas League. He was named to his first All-Star team in June and was batting .289 with a .364 OBP in 73 games before the promotion.
A foot injury sidelined Colon from June 12-July 25, keeping him out of the Texas League All-Star Game and perhaps delaying his callup. But as far as he's concerned, he left those issues back in Double-A.
"I started the year with my ultimate goal being to get to Triple-A as quickly as I could," he said. "Obviously, the ultimate goal is to make the Majors and help the Royals win however I can, but I wanted to get here as soon as possible. That being said, injuries are part of the game, and, yeah, it took a little longer than maybe I expected. But now I'm here and I'm happy to be here."
Now that he's arrived and caught up with old friends like Anthony Seratelli and Wil Myers, there are new objectives for the Cal State-Fullerton product.
Besides acclimating to Triple-A pitching, Colon wants to improve his defense at both middle infield positions, where he will alternate in hopes of providing resume depth. There's also the PCL playoff hunt, with Omaha whittling its magic number to nine for clinching the American North Division title.
Colon acknowledged that both he and his teammates pay attention to the standings and that the possibility of reaching the postseason is what has him most excited about first few days with the Chasers.
"It's awesome," he said. "The guys have worked so hard here to put us in this position. It's definitely what you play for. I can't wait until we get closer to the playoffs. All I can hope is that I put my two cents in and help out a little bit along the way."
Royals No. 9 prospect Chris Dwyer contributed a complete-game effort Saturday, allowing two runs on eight hits in his best start since being promoted to Triple-A.
"He was just commanding the zone," Colon said. "His off-speed stuff was very good and he used it to work his way out of some jams. It just shows how he's grown as a pitcher, and I'm happy for him for that."