Colton Putting Disappointment Behind Him

APPLETON, Wisc. – The news that that you're being sent down is the last thing a minor league player wants to hear. And things were no different for outfielder Chris Colton. The Georgia native found out near midseason that he would be returning to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the team he played for last season, but instead of hanging his head the outfielder has made the most of opportunity.

"The only reason I'm glad to be back is it's a great group of guys," said Colton. "The coaching staff, the fans - it's a good atmosphere to play at. A lot of people gave me a lot support."

Colton is no stranger to Fox Cities Stadium. The outfielder played all of last season with the Rattlers, hitting .232 and finishing second on the team in home runs (12), stolen bases (15) and RBI (64).

After an up-and-down 2004, Colton was moved up to Inland Empire for the 2005 season. But things did not work out well for the 22-year-old. Colton struggled with the 66ers, hitting just .243 with a .297 on-base percentage and 23 RBI, and found himself headed back to the Midwest League.

"I was pretty upset when I heard I was coming down but, I had to tell myself that everything happens for a reason," said Colton. "I just prayed and kept my faith in God and didn't get down on myself and played hard every day."

Since returning to Wisconsin, Colton has proven that he can play. The outfielder has taken charge and provided a big spark for the club. In 41 games with the Rattlers, Colton is hitting .355 with 10 home runs and a .394 OBP.

"I like what I see as far as his approach and the way he's a lot more mature than what I saw two years ago," said Wisconsin manager Scott Steinmann. "His overall game has improved, base running, outfield play, going to bases, his hitting approach… everything has gotten a little bit better."

Colton has had great success since returning to Wisconsin because of his determination. He returned to the Timber Rattlers with a good attitude and wanted to prove himself.

"I think it's my determination to show people that I do not deserve to be down here," said Colton, talking about his hot-streak since the demotion. "And I just took it upon myself to come down here and work hard. At first I was a little disappointed but I had to just tell myself to take it as a second chance, just go out there and prove everyone that I can play the game."

And the former Middle Georgia College Warrior star has proven a lot to his coaches in Wisconsin. They have been very impressed with his positive attitude and willingness to fight through adversity.

"He could have went in the wrong direction and put himself in a hole and not come out of it," said Steinmann. "But he's a guy that is going to fight and battle and he's going to prove to us that he deserves to be back up there and that's what he's done so far. He's come down with a great attitude and it's shown on the field."

"Tommy has told me a couple of times that Benny Looper (Mariners Vice President, Player Development & Scouting) was very happy with what he's seen," said Colton.

While no player would ever be happy with a demotion, Colton has found a silver lining in his return to the Midwest League. He is very happy to be on a winning team, and is looking forward to the playoffs. The Rattlers clinched a playoff birth by winning the Western Division in the first half of the season.

"It feels pretty good coming to a team that is doing very well and just to be in a winning environment," said Colton.

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