PCL notes: Culberson feels at home

After a trade, Rockies gave him time to take care of family

By Chris Jackson / Special to MLB.com | May 27, 2013 6:00 AM ET

Real life and the game of baseball tend to have a peaceful coexistence.

Players find that balance between their time at the stadium and at home, becoming more savvy about it as they progress through the Minor Leagues.

Sometimes, though, family life and the business side of the game can collide. Just ask Colorado Springs second baseman Charlie Culberson about what happened to him last July when the Rockies acquired him from the Giants in the Marco Scutaro trade.

"In baseball life, trades happen all the time," Culberson said. "It came down to the end of July, it was a Friday night and they said 'Hey, we're trading you and it's to the Rockies.' I was there in Fresno and we were traveling to Colorado Springs that next morning. So I'm pretty much going to the other clubhouse."

Things, however, were not that simple for the 24-year-old Georgia native.

"But a little wrench in the situation -- my wife was pregnant, she was about seven-and-a-half months pregnant," Culberson said. "I had her there. I had a car, I had a whole apartment to unpack. So when I was talking with the GM of the Rockies that night, I told him my situation that I didn't feel comfortable leaving my wife behind and having her travel to come and be with me. So they allowed me to take a few days to drive to Colorado Springs because that would be the best thing for us."

It took 18 hours to travel the 1,200-or-so miles between Fresno and Colorado Springs.

"That's one thing that really kind of eased everything, because being with the Giants for five years and you move to a new organization you really don't know what to expect," Culberson said. "They were allowing me to put family first. That's a big thing."

Culberson has entered his second season in the Pacific Coast League as the Rockies' No. 14 prospect. He is currently hitting .291 with six home runs and 26 RBIs while starting primarily at second base and sometimes at shortstop for the Sky Sox.

"Obviously hitting is the biggest thing," Culberson said. "If you hit, you're going to go up. You can play defense, but if you don't hit, that's the biggest difference between guys staying here and (going) up there.

"You need to show them you can swing the bat, be patient at the plate and then have an idea of what you're going to do day in and day out."

Culberson appeared in six games with the Giants last year but has yet to play for the Rockies.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "I think I've had a pretty decent start here. I could be doing a little bit better. I'm trying to learn from past games what I can and can't do. Everyone can get better and I know I can too, because I'm still in Triple-A. I want to be a Major League baseball player."

In brief

Cup of Jo(seph): Omaha left-handed reliever Donnie Joseph was obtained by the Royals in the Jonathan Broxton trade with the Reds last year. So far, life has been a mixed bag for the hard thrower in Nebraska. The Royals' No. 7 prospect is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA and two saves in 18 games this year, but he does have 26 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.

Flying under the radar: New Orleans left-hander Brian Flynn was the last name listed among the players the Marlins acquired from the Tigers last July for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. The southpaw is doing his best to change that, however, going 1-4 with a 4.33 ERA in six starts for the Zephyrs. The Marlins' No. 17 prospect is putting himself in the picture for a callup this season.

Sudden stumble: Tucson left-hander Robbie Erlin was once part of a deadline trade between San Diego and Texas back in 2011. Right now, the Padres' No. 8 prospect is just trying to right the ship after back-to-back rough starts. Erlin, 3-0 with a 4.59 ERA overall, has given up nine earned runs over his last 9 1/3 innings.

Chris Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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