Fisher Cats' Urena hits record three triples
Richard Urena has provided a little jolt to Double-A New Hampshire since his arrival last week. On Wednesday night, he made a little history.
"When he hits the ball, we just sit there and watch him run," Fisher Cats hitting coach Stubby Clapp said. "He is playing hard right now and has really added some life to our ballclub."
The top-ranked Blue Jays prospect recorded a team-record three triples as the Fisher Cats beat Bowie, 7-4, at Prince George's Stadium. He drove in a run and scored three times in his seventh game since a promotion from Class A Advanced Dunedin.
"[Urena] has got a hitter's confidence," New Hampshire manager Bobby Meacham said. "When he goes to the plate, he's not like, "Oh, I'm in Double-A now, so I've got to do something different.' He's just using the same confident approach and swings at the pitches he thinks he can handle and [is] having a lot of success that way."
MLB.com's No. 86 overall prospect moved up a level on Aug. 3 after slashing .305/.351/.447 with 33 extra-base hits in 97 Florida State League games. Facing Baysox starter David Hess in the first inning, he ripped a one-out triple to center field and raced home on a wild pitch. Urena grounded out to short in the third but plated Blue Jays No. 29 prospect Roemon Fields and gave the Fisher Cats a 4-1 lead in the fifth with his second three-base hit.
"He's been doing the same things since the day he got here," Clapp said. "He's on the fastball. He's on time and ready to hit. He's not sitting there trying to play around and see a whole lot of pitches."
In the seventh, the 20-year-old shortstop -- who served as New Hampshire's designated hitter on Wednesday -- jumped on Hess' first pitch and sprinted his way into the Fisher Cats record book.
"When he hit the third one, it was a no-doubter," Clapp said. "The first two were over the fielders' heads, but the third one was in the gap. And at that point, it was just a matter of stopping at third or rounding the bag."
The switch-hitter from the Dominican Republic struck out in the ninth but finished his first week in the Eastern League with a .433 average (13-for-30), five triples, two doubles and seven runs scored.
"It's a big jump if you're not sure how good you are," Meacham said. "The best thing about him is it looks like he's sure he's a good player. He's sure of his offense at the plate, he knows what he needs to work on. On the defensive end, he's been working on that as well. He has played hard in every game and ran the bases, so it's not a big jump for a player who is confident in his abilities. And that's what we are seeing from him so far."
Shane Opitz belted a two-run homer in the third for the Fisher Cats, while Blue Jays No. 27 prospect Dwight Smith also had a pair of RBIs.
Wilmer Font (2-0) struck out eight while allowing one run on two hits and two walks over six innings to pick up the win. Chris Smith fanned two in the ninth for his 10th save.
Michael Peng is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelXPeng