Kyle Orr Is Ready At Last

        Kyle Orr stepped into the batting cage and after the obligatory bunt that every player is required to lay down when he starts his session, he listened to Gulf Coast Dodger manager Juan Bustabad  who instructed, "Take the first one to right, the second to left."

Bustabad, who was throwing this BP session, then put the ball where he wanted to and Orr obliged, lifting the first ball to the far right field reaches of Dodgertown's Field One, then lining the next pitch crisply to left.

       "That's what I've been working on all spring- hitting to the opposite field," he noted. "I do that every day."

        It's his lefthanded power swing that made Orr the first Canadian chosen in the 2006 draft when the Dodgers selected him in the fourth round. Scout Hank Jones had been a regular visitor to see Orr play in British Columbia and watched him plant a lot of balls well beyond the trees that lined his home park. But after drafting him the Dodgers couldn't sign him immediately because under the rules then in effect, he needed a work visa to play in the US and there was none available.

     So Orr spent his summer at home, then playing for the Canadian Juniors in an international tournament in Cuba. It wasn't until that was done that the Dodgers signed him in September  after which they brought him to the  Arizona Instructional League.

      Since Orr stretches 6-5, he naturally has long arms and a resultant swing that was too long. Ever since he's been in the extended spring camp, he's been schooled on  getting shorter to the ball and the results have been evident. While he hasn't been sending many balls into orbit, he's been much more consistent at the plate, averaging over .300 for the games against the other organizations that regularly play the Dodgers in the unofficial games throughout  April and May.

     Now  he's been assigned to the same field for the summer as the Ogden contingent has departed for Utah, leaving the more inexperienced players for Bustabad's Gulf Coast squad.  Orr is slated to be that team's first baseman.

     And that's something he's been drilling hard at, too. "I hardly ever played first before coming here. In Canada, I played right field when I wasn't pitching."

  He seems to be doing well in the field as well. Complimented on a recent play when he took away what seemed to be a sure double down the line, he grinned and noted, " Having a long reach helps at first, doesn't it?"

   He then inquired about how the first basemen in the organization on the teams above him are doing. Well, Loney has gone up, Mitch Jones is in Japan, Cory Dunlap is doing just okay at Jacksonville, Russ Mitchell is doing well at San Bernardino (Inland Empire) and Eduardo Perez is raking the ball up in Michigan for Great Lakes.

   But none of those have the long ball potential that Orr has shown. Next week, he'll finally get into games that count and over the long very hot summer that the Gulf Coast is, get his chance at last to see if that potential translates into production.       

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