Dan Batz Does Just That

VERO BEACH, Florida- A reporter approaches Dan Batz to tell him that he has written that he has the perfect name for an offensive-minded baseball player. Not surprisingly, Dan answers with a smile, saying that he's seen that written before.

Okay, it's an obvious play on words especially when you consider what he did at the University of Rhode Island. Who holds the single season record there for most hits? Batz. Most home runs ? Batz. Most doubles? Batz. Most RBI ? Batz. Total bases? Batz. Extra-base hits? Batz.

Want more proof ? In his senior season, he led the Atlantic-10 Conference in hits, doubles, total bases, on-base and slugging percentage while batting .406. No surprise here that he was voted conference Player of the Year. So, no shock, either, that the Dodgers snapped him up in the sixth round of the 2004 draft. After all, you have to like the way the guy -- well, here it comes -- bats.

So, how did he do as a first-year pro? Glad you asked. Although in playing at Ogden is like "facing each college's best pitcher every day," he says. he also allows that, "No question my college experience helped me."

That's because he kept right on swinging, batting .335-3-28, showing that hitting is something he does best.

At Rhode Island, this native of Pennsylvania played first base but the Dodgers made him an outfielder right after signing him. This spring, though, he's returned back home, playing first again. That's more natural to him, he declares, but he doesn't care much where they stash him in the field. Just as long as he gets up four times a game, you understand.

In his days at Governor Mifflin High, this 6-1, 195-pounder was a star in three sports, adding basketball and football to his baseball credentials. Of course, in college he just concentrated on the diamond.

All that prowess with the lumber caused him to be named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine. Now, his mission as a pro is to move up a notch or two and show that he's still an offensive machine.

That this guy lives up to his name is no pun.