Verdugo's bat, glove on display in AFL win

Dodgers' No. 3 prospect tallies first Fall League RBI with a double

October 26th, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Alex Verdugo is feeling the effects of the long season, but pushing through the fatigue in order to get the most from his Arizona Fall League experience.

"I'm tired," admitted Verdugo, who played a career-high 126 regular-season games with Double-A Tulsa this season. "When you're able to come out and play with the best of the best, like this league is, it's fun. The level of competition gives you an adrenaline rush and it helps you through it."

The adrenaline was pumping Wednesday as the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect tallied an RBI double and made a diving catch to help propel Glendale to a 6-1 win over Salt River at Salt River Fields.

Glendale scratched across a pair of runs via RBI ground outs in the third before Verdugo came through with the club's first extra-base hit of the game, an RBI double to left, to extend the lead to 3-1 in the fourth.

"I've just been trying to stay with my approach at the plate," said the No. 45 overall prospect. "We're facing a lot of good arms and you really don't know them that well, so it's a little tough to have an approach, but that at-bat I was really just trying to go oppo and I snuck one down the line and it worked out."

Verdugo is off to a slow start in the Fall League, with a .167 average and one RBI through nine games. During the regular season, he batted .273 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs.

"I think I had a good season," Verdugo said. "There's some things that I still want to do better, but I think, overall, in my first year in Double-A, I think I did well."

Verdugo not only helped his club with the bat, but made his presence felt defensively as well. The 20-year-old took a hit away from Glendale's (Braves) with a sliding catch in the right-centerfield gap to lead off the sixth.

Although Verdugo has played the bulk of his career in center field, he may project better as a right-fielder, a position he is continually learning.

Verdugo played 91 games in center this season and spent 30 in right.

"I feel great either way," Verdugo said. "I feel great in center or in right. I think I could play both at the Major League level, it's just whatever the organization needs."

White Sox No. 14 prospect Courtney Hawkins also flashed some power, providing some insurance for Glendale with a solo homer in the top of the ninth. After hitting 12 in 106 games with Double-A Birmingham during the season, the home run was the 22-year-old outfielder's first blast in Arizona.

Jaime Westbrook (D-backs' No. 21) provided the lone offensive highlight for Salt River with an RBI single in the third inning. The 21-year-old is off to a fast start in the AFL, hitting .360 through six games. He's collected a hit in each of those six contests and has an RBI in four of his past five games.

The Salt River offense was limited to just one run on four hits in large part because of , who gave up two hits and retired the final seven batters he faced. The White Sox farmhand has a 2.38 ERA through three AFL starts (11.1 IP) for the Rafters.