Like any other baseball player, shortstop Kevin Medrano
has been through his fair share of slumps. A combination of experience and family, though, help him fight through just about anything baseball can throw at him.
Medrano hasn't felt any kind of slump early in his professional career, though. In 29 games with the Yakima Bears, he's hitting .354 with 15 RBIs and two triples -- his average currently leads the Northwest League and his production helped the Bears clinch their first spot in the postseason since 2010 as the East Division first-half champs.
Although things are moving quite smoothly in his rookie campaign, Medrano is aware how quickly things can change. His brothers, Steven and Jesus, were drafted out of high school and both played in the Minor Leagues. They have helped him continue his development as a professional baseball player.
When times get tough, he knows he can fall back on them for helpful advice. When times are good, they offer a different perspective from what he typically hears. In all, Medrano's family is also one of his biggest assets.
"They give me advice on the little things -- they know I'm not a home run hitter," he said. "They even tell me to put some bunts down every now and then."
Medrano has slumped before, just not as a pro. While in college at Missouri State, he said he experienced one of the worst dry spells he's ever endured. It was then that his brothers, whom he still speaks to on a daily basis, offered him advice that allowed him to persevere and get back on track.
His experience in the Cape Cod League helped bolster his confidence even further, and from there, he hasn't looked back.
"Playing in that league, it gave me confidence that I could hit against any pitcher out there," he said. "I did good out there, and I'm just going to keep that mind-set that I can hang with anybody."
Medrano knows adversity could show up at any point in his career. As soon as it does, though, he knows he can rely on his previous experience -- and his family -- for help.
"They gave me an upside of things, and how you have to just take it day by day," he said. "Relax, and sooner or later the ball will start to fall."
One of the biggest challenges Medrano has faced so far is adjusting to shortstop. A second baseman at heart, he had to adjust his footwork and become more aggressive toward the ball. As the season presses on, and he continues to improve in the field, Medrano is most excited about what lies ahead, considering the winning ways he has already experienced early in his career with the Bears.
"This is an amazing feeling," he said. "Just winning, in the sense of making the playoffs in my first year is just phenomenal."
Fingers to appear: Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers will appear at Everett Memorial Stadium on July 26 to throw out the first pitch and sign autographs during the game. Fingers, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992, was a seven-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion through the course of his Major League career.
Hot/Not: Boise outfielder Trey Martin has hit .459 with nine RBIs in his past 10 games. Spokane outfielder Preston Beck has hit .115 (3-for-26) in his last seven. Tri-City hurler Shane Broyles has struck out 10 while allowing just two earned runs in his last 13 innings of work.
Ride the bases: The Spokane Indians are holding their first-ever Ride the Bases motorcycle ride Aug. 12. The ride will conclude at Avista Stadium, and all proceeds benefit the Rypien Foundation, which is dedicated to providing hope to families with children who battle cancer. Participants will also receive a ticket to that day's game.
He said it: "I hadn't really thought about it. I know we're playing well and we'll just try to come out and try to play well again tomorrow." -- Everett AquaSox manager Rob Mammau regarding their chances at clinching the West Division's first-half title. The Sox, three and a half games ahead of second-place Eugene, need one win or an Emeralds loss to secure a playoff berth.