PCL notes: Getting Elmore for less

Arizona infield prospect rising above expectations with Reno

By Chris Jackson / Special to MLB.com | July 16, 2012 7:47 AM ET

Reno's Jake Elmore has gotten used to being underestimated.

The 5-foot-10 middle infielder does not rank among MLB.com's top 20 Arizona prospects list.

But Elmore has also gotten used to proving just about everybody wrong. Through Saturday, he ranked second in the Pacific Coast League in batting (.377), runs (82), walks (52) and on-base percentage (.464); third in hits (119) and fourth in stolen bases (25).

"Oh, absolutely," Elmore said when asked whether he enjoys surprising people. "I guess it really started in college a little bit. You never expect the smaller guys to do much, especially coming from Arizona State when I really didn't do much. I think it's always a driving force in me. You want to prove people wrong."

So far, Elmore has done that and then some. He earned a starting spot on the PCL squad at the Triple-A All-Star Game last Wednesday, starting at second base and batting second in between Reno teammates Adam Eaton and Ryan Wheeler.

"It was certainly awesome to hit 1-2-3," Elmore said with a laugh as the PCL went on to beat the International League, 3-0.

Though Elmore played second base in Buffalo, he has actually seen more time at shortstop this year. He has played 42 games at short, 32 at second, six at third and five in the outfield.

"I think that moving around the diamond can increase your value," Elmore said. "Versatility is very vital on every ballclub. Being able to move around can only help you.

"I definitely credit our manager Brett Butler, he didn't even know I could play short. He put me at third early in the season. He said I have the arm to play shortstop too."

Elmore said he enjoys playing for Butler, a long-time Major League center fielder who played with a similar style.

"The best thing about him is he's a communicator," Elmore said. "He always lets you know where you stand. He's always honest. I completely respect that about him.

"As far as playing for him, it's a fast game that we play. Putting on the hit-and-run, playing fast, it all plays to my strengths. It's fun."

It does not hurt that as a team, the Aces have the top offense in the PCL, spurred along by the All-Star trio of Elmore, Eaton and Wheeler.

"I'll tell you what, this lineup is obviously unbelievable," Elmore said. "You've got guys in the eight-hole hitting .310."

Elmore said he and Eaton, who currently leads the PCL with a .391 average, have developed a friendly rivalry over the batting crown.

"It's fun, we feed off each other," Elmore said. "No matter what anybody says, it's hard not to know who's in first between us. We kid each other about it."

In brief

Shake up the Sounds: Nashville came off the All-Star break and dealt with plenty of roster upheaval. Veteran outfielder Jay Gibbons announced his retirement, third baseman Taylor Green and reliever Tim Dillard were sent down by the Brewers, while shortstop Jeff Bianchi and starting pitcher Tyler Thornburg were recalled by Milwaukee. And then Mother Nature rained out the Sounds' games Thursday and Saturday.

Familiar face: The Astros acquired third baseman Matt Dominguez from the Marlins in the Carlos Lee trade, played him in the Majors for four games and then sent him down to Oklahoma City. Dominguez, who had played for New Orleans up until that point, then got to face his former club right after the All-Star break. Dominguez has gone 5-for-12 with two RBI for the RedHawks in three games so far against the Zephyrs.

Debut part two: Right-hander Justin Grimm, who already made his Major League debut with the Texas Rangers, got to finally make his Triple-A debut with Round Rock on Saturday night. Grimm, who opened the season by going 8-3 with a 1.80 ERA in 14 starts at Double-A Frisco, went four innings in Saturday's 5-3 loss to Memphis. He allowed one run on two hits and three walks while striking out two.

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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