When Christian Colon takes the field for Kansas City in 2015, his most consistent position will most likely be second base. The Royals view him as a quality alternative to Omar Infante. He could challenge Infante for regular time at that spot.
But as the team constructs its roster for Opening Day, Colon may be the only backup infielder to break camp. He would also serve as insurance for shortstop Alcides Escobar and third baseman Mike Moustakas. So each day at camp, Colon begins a rotation of defensive drills at third base and moves from station to station.
“You’ve just got to take groundballs at each and every spot,” Colon said. “You start at third. Go to short, then second. Take as many as you can, until you feel really comfortable.
“Last year was huge for me. To be able to play third in the big leagues — I had always played short and second. So I feel good. I feel good at all three spots. You’ve just got to keep rotating, really.”
Colon, the No. 4 pick in the 2010 draft, made his big-league debut last season. The team felt confident enough in his ability to trade away backup third baseman Danny Valencia during the summer. Colon played five games at the hot corner, which was a newer assignment for him.
Colon played shortstop at Cal-State Fullerton. He moved off the position and started playing more second base as he rose through the Royals minor-league system. For last season, the team rotated him around the diamond to prepare him for a utility assignment in the majors.
Colon embraced the opportunity. The team’s acquisition of Infante before last season blocked his route to second base. So he needed to learn to adapt. In 21 games with the Royals, Colon hit .333 with an .864 on-base plus slugging percentage. He could see 200 to 300 at-bats this season, including some time spelling Moustakas against left-handed pitchers.
Moustakas is a far more accomplished fielder at third than Colon. As a rookie, Colon tried to figure out the nuances of the position, besides the obvious task of making cross-diamond throws to first.
“It’s the footwork, too,” Colon said. “The footwork’s different, because you don’t have time to really line up the ball to be able to catch and throw. You’ve got to catch it, set your feet, then throw. It’s not like you’re moving before the ball is hit. You can’t be moving. That was something I had to learn.
“The throw, obviously, is different. But it’s just comfort. Just reps. Just playing every day.”
FROM THE STAR
1. Sam Mellinger breaks down the race in the American League Central.
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3. Alex Gordon received clearance to play catch and swing a bat.
4. Here is our daily video update from Surprise.
HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC
“Kansas City” by Damien Jurado.