Lambo Making The Choice Look Astute

Before the draft the rumors were flying about Andrew Lambo. And these wern't just side-of-the-mouth whispers, either. No, the bloggers who dwell on this sort of thing, were messaging away and reports found their way into print.

The word was anybody who drafts this guy is asking for trouble. Maybe he isn't the next Michael Vick but he could well become baseball's version of Pacman Jones. Why, the next thing you know he'll be out with Lindsey Lohan. This guy is bad news. Some allowed he had reformed but there was also a published report that scouting directors who were talking to him were turned off by his flippant attitude.

So his stock fell from an almost-certain second-rounder until the Dodgers took him in the fourth. The Dodgers! Whose Logan White, the man in charge of scouting, stresses character like Sister Margaret Mary used to in your fourth grade class. What's going on here?

"Oh, sure, he did some things," White relates. "But nothing like they said he did. Those reports were all exaggerated. And I talked to him and didn't find him that way. He made some kid mistakes and I believe in second chances."

Lambo himself is forthright about all this. "I always played sports with kids that are older than I am so I began running with an older crowd. Yes, I got into some trouble and wasn't headed in the right direction when I was a freshman and sophomore.

"So, my parents decided to move to a smaller town (from Reseda, Cal. to Newbury Park). It's quieter and a great place and I got myself together."

His grades began coming up, enough so that he was offered a scholarship to play baseball at Arizona State as a senior. And he's been carefull with the company he keeps for some time now. So, what's this with the scouting directors?

"I honestly don't know how that started. At the tryouts, I was the one who went up to the coaches afterwards and thanked them for their help."

No one's ever denied his ability on the field. White commented, "He reminds me of James Loney with the way he swings a bat. And, like James, he can really pick at first base."

Also like James he was an accomplished pitcher as well but it's that grooved lefthanded swing that attracted the Dodgers. They don't see him at first, though. He's currently in the Gulf Coast League where they want Kyle Orr at that position so he plays the bag only occasionally.

No, they've put that arm to use in right field and tht's okay with Andrew. "No problem. I played the outfield lots of times before."

And that sweet swing is producing regularly. He's pushed his average up over .300 and has four homers in a league where the fences are distant. At 6-3, 190, he's solid and it loooks like he'll hit with with plenty of sock as he matures. He doesn't run well enough to be classified as "five-tool" but does everything else in a style that projects very well.

The big thing is he's matured off the field. "I owe everything to Logan White," he declares. "He's given me my chance and I don't ever want to do anything that would make him sorry."

So, hes playing hard and staying quiet off the field. The next, say, Shawn Green? Now that would be a burden to place on him but those stories that he's the next Charlie Manson belong beyond left field. He deserves the chance he's getting and he's making the choice look very wise.

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