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Dilone uses dad's ethic to great effect

Rockies infielder homers twice, plates six for Grand Junction
August 14, 2013

After a slow start to his career in America, Colorado infield prospect Miguel Dilone has found his comfort zone.

Dilone went 4-for-6 with two homers and six RBIs -- both career highs -- in Rookie-level Grand Junction's 16-12 win over host Missoula.

"It was pretty good. I was happy about what I did tonight," Dilone said. "Just trying my best for the team.

"Just trying to hit the ball back up the middle. I got a couple pitches a little bit high and the wall went out."

Playing first base and batting cleanup, Dilone pulled a two-run homer to right field in the first inning and added a solo long ball to right in the second.

The infielder then laced an RBI single back up the middle with two outs in the third and plated two more runs with a bases-loaded single the other way in the fifth.

He struck out to end the sixth and grounded out to end the ninth.

"I got behind in the count, 0-2, and I am just trying to make some contact and not strike out," Dilone said of his first homer, an 0-2 fastball up and over the inner half of the plate. "I just hit the ball and I was surprised it went out. I'm waiting on the fastball.

"[The second homer] was a first-pitch fastball up. It was the same [as the first]. I was looking middle and I hit the ball. [My teammates] were laughing a little bit because I was hitting in the four-hole. I'm not a four-hole hitter. I've hit there maybe twice. I hit six, five, sometimes seven."

The four hits also established a new career mark. He recorded six three-hit games for the Rockies' Dominican Summer League affiliate last year after doing it three times in 2011. His previous career best in RBIs was five, amassed in a two-triple game last June 23 for the DSL Rockies.

The outing raised his Pioneer League average 22 points to .308 and gave him his seventh multi-hit game in his past nine outings. It was Dilone's first multi-RBI effort of the year.

Since the start of the second half, Dilone, who has split time between first, second and third base, is hitting .500 (20-for-40). He had just 12 hits in his first 19 games, during which time he hit .188.

"It is pretty good now," Dilone said. "The first half of the season, I wasn't playing that good, but I've been working hard. I wasn't worried, I know what I have.

"I know that I'm a good hitter. I know I can do it. I didn't have the same focus. Maybe I was a little anxious in the first half and tried to do too much. It wasn't mechanical, it was focus."

Signed by the Rockies as a non-drafted free agent in April 2011, the 6-foot-2 native of the Dominican Republic entered Wednesday with three homers in his first 158 games of pro ball.

Growing up the son of a big leaguer, Dilone may have the same power swing as his father. Or maybe the same lack of a power swing.

Dilone's father, also named Miguel, played 12 years in the Majors between 1974 and 1985 as an outfielder for the Pirates, A's, Cubs, Indians, White Sox, Pirates, Expos and Padres. In 800 games, he went deep six times.

"I learned a lot of things from him," Dilone said. "He has been the best coach in my life since I was little, whatever I needed. He just told me to play hard. The similarities are that we both try hard every single day and never give up."

Rockies leadoff hitter Raimel Tapia was 3-for-5 with a double and three runs scored and right fielder Jordan Patterson homered, doubled, plated three runs and scored three times.

Missoula's No. 9 hitter Jake Miller threatened to upstage Dilone. The shortstop homered twice, doubled and plated five runs. First baseman Daniel Palka reached base four times and plated four runs in the slugfest loss.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB.