Texas notes: Myers back in the swing

Naturals outfielder picks up solid play following knee injury

Royals prospect Wil Myers was a third-round pick in the 2009 Draft. (John Owen)

By Todd Traub / Special to MLB.com | June 28, 2011 6:00 AM ET

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals have suffered their share of rainouts and rain delays this season. Outfielder Wil Myers, however, endured the biggest rain delay by far.

The 20-year-old Royals prospect had his transition from catcher to outfield interrupted earlier this season when, dashing through the rain to get to his apartment, he slipped and fell, resulting in a series of knee problems that caused him to miss almost a month.

"I was running out of the rain, true story," Myers said. "Cut [my knee] open, had four staples, two stitches. Then I came back, played on it, jumped and caught a ball at the wall, busted the scab back open and got a staph infection, so I had to have surgery."

Myers, a third-round pick in 2009 out of high school in High Point, N.C., missed three weeks as a result.

"Whatever can happen, will happen," said Naturals manager Brian Poldberg of the rain that cost him Myers as well as three games in May -- all with North Division first-half champion Arkansas -- that could not be made up.

Northwest Arkansas finished one game behind Arkansas in the first half. Who knows, if the games had been made up, Myers had been available, or both, what might have transpired?

But at least Poldberg can look forward to a second-half campaign with Myers intact.

"It's just a matter of some bad luck," Poldberg said. "I think that's all behind us. He's swinging the bat well. He's got bat speed and he runs well."

Myers was a high school shortstop and pitcher who dabbled at third and the outfield. The Royals experimented after drafting him, moving him behind the plate but decided to move him to the outfield.

"I had a good year, first year for catching, being my first year in pro ball," Myers said. "I thought I handled it well, but they told me after the year that they just thought, for the future of me and the Royals, that would be best."

In his first full season last year, Myers batted .289 at Class A Burlington and .346 at Class A Advanced Wilmington. Clearly his hitting didn't suffer as he played behind the plate, and Myers sees it as his job not to let it suffer now as he transitions to the outfield.

"You don't change your position hitting, and hitting is my biggest tool," said Myers, batting .288 over his first 44 Double-A games. "So I just try to do what I can in the field and go up there and swing the bat."

With his 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame and decent speed -- he has five steals in seven attempts -- Myers seems likely to advance more quickly as an outfielder. The Royals have high hopes for Salvador Perez as well as their other, more natural catching prospects.

"His hitting is going to be helped," said Poldberg, a former catcher himself. "Being a catcher and the tax it puts on your body game in, game out, it definitely takes away from your bat, so moving him to the outfield keeps his bat fresher. I think it's a good move for him."

In brief

Sparkling debut: Los Angeles Angels Minor League field coordinator Todd Takayoshi was tapped to fill in as Arkansas manager after Bill Mosiello, who led the team to a first-half North Division title, resigned to join the staff at the University of Tennessee. Takayoshi will manage for a month, then be replaced by Angels roving instructor Bobby Mitchell. Currently riding a seven-game winning streak, the Travelers are 3-0 since Takayoshi took the reigns.

Spoiler alert: Frisco's Robbie Erlin struck out a career-high 14 in 6 2/3 innings against Corpus Christi on Sunday, but the effort was spoiled when T.J. Steele hit a game-winning, two-run homer for a 4-3 the Hooks victory.

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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