May May Make It -- In the Outfield

In the past it has been the Dodger custom to do position tinkering in spring training or the instructional league. In 2005 there have been some moves made during in mid-season. At Jacksonville, for example, Joel Guzman has played a lot of third while Jonathan Broxton has been sent to the bullpen from the starting rotation. There's been another at Columbus which is not such an attention-getter but is, nonetheless, of more than passing interest. Luke May is currently the Catfish left field

May has never been the type of prospect whose every breath is chronicled by Baseball America. Nevertheless, he's a player that more than a few in the Dodger organization have liked. They like the fact that he hits with some power, certainly, and they particularly dwell on the way he plays the game for Luke is what is described in affectionate terms as "a baseball rat."

He plays hard all the time, gives you 90 feet every time he runs to first, plays hurt, does all the cliche things that are termed "being an old-fashioned" player. He's got the kind of attitude that they wish they could graft onto a lot of others in the organization.

It was that this that attracted the Dodgers to him when he was playing high school ball in suburban St. Louis. They were tipped by his coach that he was a special type, agreed after assessing him and when the eighth round of the draft came around in 2003 decided it was time to call his name. Perfect timing, it turned out, for the Cardinals, who picked behind them, were just about to select the hometown boy.

That had to create misgivings with Luke for growing up where he did he had a passion for Cardinal red. But when informed of his selection, he immediately transferred his allegiance and hasn't looked back since. Well, maybe, a glance at Sports Center to see how the old team is doing but, make no mistake, he's doing his best to make it to L.A.,

His power output has been steadily growing as he pursues that quest. He didn't hit a single one out in his rookie season in the Gulf Coast League; then came on last year to hit five in 34 games for Ogden when his season came to an abrupt end because of a broken hand.

He's recovered from that and has hit seven out of the yard so far for the Fish. His average isn't what he wants at .240 although he had it right up there for awhile until it hit the skids recently.

It's in the field, though, that he has had his problems. Up to now, Luke has been a shortstop but 27 errors midway through the season calls for an adjustment. He's had some big plays mixed in but it's those routine matters of taking his eyes off the ball at the wrong moments that have plagued him. He's worked diligently to overcome the miseries resulting in trying too hard, a common ailment among young players.

So, to take the pressure off, he's been switched to the field to see how it goes. He has the arm, the speed and the aptitude to play out there and his power totals indicate he can deliver that requirement of the position. It could make the difference for him like it did for Jason Repko.

The Dodgers know this, if he doesn't succeed, it won't be because he failed to work. Another cliche says he gives 110 percent. Well, that's impossible but Luke will try to achieve that, too which is why he's being given every chance to make it.