Brazell -- Looking to Get Back in the Show

A fan, knowledgeable about many of the ways and wherefores of minor leaguers, was asking about who was playing first base for a Dodger farm team in a camp game this spring. When told it was a newcomer named "Brazell", he exclaimed, "Not Craig Brazell?". An affirmative answer provoked, a surprised, "Why, I remember him with the Mets. He's got lots of power. How in the world did they get him?"

You see, he recalled that rather dramatic moment in September 2004 when Brazell, called up from the minors, ripped an 11th inning shot out of the yard to place another dagger in the long-scarred hearts of the Cub fans.

It was, it seemed at the time, a harbinger of good times ahead for New York and this player. As things turned out, though, it was Craig's sole blast in a season that saw him hit .265 in 24 games for the Mets that month.

It's a prelude that hasn't played out - yet, anyway, for he hasn't been up in the bigtime since.

He had clouted 23 out for Norfolk before his call-up that year so you couldn't blame anyone for feeling the best was yet to come. However, 2005 produced mostly injuries for the most part, Craig got into only 52 games at Norfolk, his home run total dwindled to six, his average drooped to .249 and the Mets went looking for first base help elsewhere, letting him go to free agency after the season.

He signed with the Dodgers just before spring training and is now trying to get his game back into shape at Jacksonville.

Even there, things weren't going that well until a three-hit Sunday afternoon started him toward respectability. Currently, he shares first with another free agent acquisition, A. J. Zapp.

Power has always been the name of the game for Brazell, who's 6-3, 210. He has a smooth stroke from the left side, gets genuine lift to the ball and should send any number out.

He's been in double figures for home runs four times in his eight-year minor league career that began when he was a fifth-round draft choice of the Mets in 1998 after graduating from Jefferson Davis High in Montgomery, Ala.

He can play the outfield corners as well as first so has some versatility as well and he's still a week shy of his 26th birthday. So, there's time to get his game in gear and get back to that promise that so stirred that fan.