Texas notes: Colon keeps on moving

Naturals shortstop seeing increased time at second base

By Todd Traub / Special to MLB.com | May 22, 2012 6:25 AM ET

Northwest Arkansas Naturals infielder Christian Colon moved from Puerto Rico when he was 13 years old because of his father's job. He lived in three different states with a final stop in Southern California, but even then Colon kept moving around. He attended three different California high schools before entering college at Cal State-Fullerton.

So at this point in his young pro career, what's a move to the right side of the infield?

The Kansas City Royals drafted Colon in the first round in 2010 as a shortstop, but he's been dabbling at second base since playing the position in the Arizona Fall League last year. Once a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award as the nation's best collegiate shortstop, Colon has been comfortable wherever he's played and, at least as important, his hitting has improved from where he left off last season.

"Usually if you play short, you've played second before," said Colon, the No. 9 prospect in the Royals system. "I've played there before, and honestly whatever it takes to get to the next level. I've taken it well, and I've been working there ever since."

Colon has played 35 of his first 42 games at short but is open to increasing his time at second or even moving there full time. Meanwhile, in his second Texas League stint after spending all of last season with the Naturals, he's shown he can make adjustments to hit at the Double-A level and, hopefully, beyond.

"Being in this league again for a second year, it's helped out a lot," said Colon, who batted .257 in 2011 but is currently fifth in the league with a .312 average. "It's just a matter of repetition, getting games under my belt in pro ball, mentally just getting ready and finding a routine. This year is just my second year, so I figured I was going to step it up a little more."

A two-time member of the U.S. National Team, Colon was projected as a big league shortstop, but since then the Royals acquired Alcides Escobar in a trade that sent pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Arizona Fall League gave Colon a chance to focus on second base and refine his hitting, and he carried the improvement into this season.

"I think the most important thing I did was just stay mentally strong," Colon said. "The mental game I really didn't have last year, and this year has been a little bit different. The confidence level obviously is different. The Fall League really helped me a lot to get to that point."

Colon knows he will have to continue to impress, both at the plate and in the field, but he is trying not to dwell much on his big league ETA.

"I'd be lying to you if I [said I] don't think about it, because every player thinks about their time and when they are going to get there," Colon said. "But I've really tried this year to not look into that as much and not figure out what's going on with me. I was told I'm going to let the club know when I'm ready."

In brief

Straily dose: Midland's Daniel Straily struck out 15 batters over seven innings Friday but did not factor in the decision as the RockHounds edged Corpus Christi, 6-5. With his mother, Sarah, in attendance from North Carolina to see the game, Straily fanned four in one inning -- made possible beacause of a throwing error -- and struck out nine straight at one point, flirting with the league record for consecutive strikeouts in a game (10).

Seven plus: Josh Geer flirted with a no-hitter in the San Antonio Missions' 5-2 victory over the Frisco RoughRiders. Making his first Double-A start since 2007, Geer tossed seven hitless innings before yielding a leadoff double to Jared Price in the eighth. Geer, who appeared in 19 games with the San Diego Padres in 2009, finished with two hits allowed and four strikeouts in 7 1/3 frames.

Weekend warriors: Arkansas thrived late in their two games over the weekend against rival Northwest Arkansas. The Travelers broke open their Saturday game in the seventh and eighth to run off with a 7-1 victory. The next day they rallied in the seventh and eighth again to overtake the Naturals, 4-3.

Todd Traub 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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