Trea Turner, the San Diego Padres' first-round pick in the 2014 Draft, recently tweeted about the difficulty of getting a haircut after starting his pro career with Class A Short Season Eugene.
"Apparently it is impossible to get a haircut in Oregon," he bemoaned last week.
But Turner didn't need to worry for long. The former North Carolina State shortstop is on a fast track with the Padres, getting promoted to Class A Fort Wayne after only 23 games with the Emeralds.
Winner of the Brooks Wallace Award as the nation's top college shortstop, the 6-foot-1, 171-pound right-handed hitter was drafted 13th overall and signed for a reported $2.9 million bonus with the Padres. His stint in Eugene was challenging -- he hit .228 in 23 games with one homer, two doubles and 11 stolen bases -- but he believes his game is already coming around.
"The transition from metal to wood is a little bit different," Turner said. "That's the first thing you notice. Finding a model [bat] that you like, getting a feel for the swing, those are things to deal with.
"Also, the pitching is different. Everybody is throwing harder on the average," he added. "You have to get used to that. The first part has been a struggle, but the last week or so, I'm starting to get used to the pitching, and I don't feel overmatched."
Turner said playing in the power-packed Atlantic Coast Conference helped prepare him for the pro ranks.
"In the ACC, you have guys who throw 90-ish with some good off-speed," Turner said. "In pro ball, you face guys who are throwing 93, 94, guys coming out of the bullpen throwing in the upper 90s. You don't see that very often in college. But the ACC is a great league. It really helped me prepare for the off-speed pitches, the sliders and change-ups and pitches like that."
Turner said he's excited to have the opportunity to move up quickly in Class A baseball.
"I haven't really talked with the Padres about a timetable," Turner said. "I just go about my business and try to improve every day, whether it's defense or offense. I try to keep improving, because the ultimate goal is to get to the Major Leagues. Hopefully that happens sooner than later.
"I'm comfortable with being fast-tracked, if that's what happens," Turner said. "I want to play in the big leagues, and I want to move up as fast as I can. I'm going to prepare for it mentally and physically and do everything I can to be ready for anything they throw at me."
According to Turner, skills he developed at North Carolina State will help him make his move.
"Everybody at this level is going to have talent," Turner said. "I think being a student of the game and competing on every play is what's going to help you grow faster as a player."
Turf change: South Bend Silver Hawks owner Andrew Berlin said he hopes to replace the FieldTurf surface at Four Winds Field within one or two years. The artificial surface was installed for the 2010 season at a cost of $750,000, a year before Berlin purchased the team. He estimated that the switch to natural grass could cost $500,000, and he's hoping that Chicago White Sox head groundskeeper Roger Bossard, who installed the original turf at then-Coveleski Stadium, will be contracted to put in the new natural surface.
Late-inning fireworks: Beloit's Tyler Marincov gave the Snappers a dramatic 3-2 victory against Kane County on Monday afternoon. Marincov crushed a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning to stun the Cougars.
Power surge: Lake County is 15th in the 16-team Midwest League in batting, but the Captains know how to swing for the fences -- the Indians affiliate leads the loop in homers. The Captains, who have never led the MWL in homers for a season, have 83 round-trippers, while South Bend is next at 75.