Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Barbero tries to catch on
Dan BARBERO has added catcher to his baseball resumé this week during the Winnipeg Goldeyes' training camp.
Barbero, 29, came in as a utility player able to play multiple outfield and infield positions.
When camp opened last weekend, Barbero found himself suited up in catcher's gear and squatting behind the plate during batting practice.
When did he last play catcher in a game?
"Never. Actually never, in a game," said Barbero, grinning. "But I am open to an adventure. This is a work in progress. I'll make this team any way I can, even if I have to eat some grass."
In Friday's 14-0 exhibition win over the University of Winnipeg Wesmen at Shaw Park, Barbero cracked a two-run blast to right after coming into the game as the right fielder in the bottom of the seventh.
Barbero has rookie status after playing last season in the independent Can-Am League, where he hit .309.
"I'm pretty new to catching but I'm open to whatever. It was kind of a shock (being asked to catch) but I really don't say no to anything. That's how life is. If somebody presents an opportunity to you, you take it."
Barbero also performed well at the plate in the two exhibition games earlier this week against the St. Paul Saints.
In last Monday's 8-7 loss, he came into the game in the fifth inning and had a pair of hits, an RBI and scored a run. He started last Tuesday's 2-1 win as the designated hitter, but also played three innings in left field and had a hit.
The Goldeyes expect to have Luis Alen as the everyday backstop while outfielder Kyle Day came into Friday's game at catcher in the fifth inning.
Barbero said he's not sure why he got the tap on the shoulder.
"Maybe it's my stature, maybe I look like a catcher," laughed the 5-foot-8 Barbero. "Luis is a great guy and has already helped me out so much. I've been using his glove and his mask.
"The craziest thing is to just get used to the movement and everybody's way of pitching," he said. "It's a challenge. It's one of the hardest positions, if not the hardest, to play in baseball."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 12, 2012 C5