Mitchell, May To Try Catching

Jon Debus is the catching corodinator for the Dodger system and as such is the man who converted Russell Martin from the infield to catching. And that's one of the major success stories the team has enjoyed. Now, once again, Debus is taking on that challenge- in fact, he's going to be doing it three times over.

It had already been decided that Carlos Santana would be trying to make the transition from third base and the outfield where he's been employed this year, to catching, a position he occupied as an amateur. Now, two others have been added to the list of prospects Debus will work with to see if they, too, can move behind the plate.

Russell Mitchell and Lucas May, two of the better power hitters among the Dodgers in the lower minors, will be joining Santana in the Arizona Instructional League this month especially to work with Debus to see if the transition can take hold.

Mitchell hit 40 doubles and 19 home runs between Columbus and Vero Beach while May had 27 doubles, nine triples and 18 homers for Columbus.

Mitchell has been primarily a third baseman although he also has played first. May was originally a shortstop but last year was converted to the outfield.

The reason for the change is the fact that the Dodgers haven't been coming up with premier catching prospects of late.

Another catcher, Esteban Lopez, a 25th round draft choice in June, has been excused from the Instructional camp in which he was originally scheduled. Instead, he'll return to the University of Hawaii to further work on obtaining his degree.

Also, righthander Eric Thompson, who just signed, will report to camp. Thompson is a 6-6, 215-pounder from Roseburg, Ore., who was a 23rd round choice in the June draft.

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