With roster spots available on the Norfolk Tides' roster and Brandon Fahey recently promoted to Baltimore, the Orioles were looking for a defensive-minded infielder to help out their young pitching staff. That's just what they got when they acquired the versatile Bo Hart from the Chicago Cubs.
The Oregon native and Gonzaga University product has long contributed in a variety of ways. During his brief stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, manager Tony LaRussa went as far as to flirt with the idea of grooming Hart into a backup catcher.
Hart was a 33rd round draft pick in the 1999 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and later signed with the Colorado Rockies to a minor league contract in 2006. He first emerged in the major leagues with the Cardinals in 2003 and 2004 as a second baseman. In a combined 88 major league games, Hart sported a .288 average with 4 homeruns and 30 RBI.
Before signing with the Orioles, Hart was in Des Moines playing Triple-A ball for the Iowa Cubs. In 19 games this year with Iowa, Hart was batting .300 against left-handed pitchers, but only .107 against right-handers. The fact that Hart has played all infield positions this season for the Iowa Cubs made him an ideal acquisition for the organization.
"I will probably play a few of the infield positions here; probably second base, third base and shortstop."
With only a .188 batting average at Iowa, Hart had reason to be nervous when he was called into the manager's office.
"I was just happy I wasn't released. You know, you get called into the office and you don't know what's going to happen. I'm excited about being here. Whenever there is a trade for you, it means you are wanted."
"I talked to the Orioles assistant GM and he said they were excited to have me and to be ready to play."
Hart isn't shy about his enthusiasm for his new organization, but he hopes to have another chance to display his skills in the big leagues.
"I'm happy to be having another opportunity. Everybody on our team could play in the big leagues. It's all about having the opportunity and the team having needs and you being the guy to fill those needs. The whole process is really random."
This is Hart's first stint in the International League and he has found it difficult to hit in one of baseball's harshest offensive environments. Through his first 50 at bats, Hart is batting .140/.170/.140. With recent injuries to the left side of the Orioles' outfield, opportunities certainly exist, but Hart is going to have to step up his game to reclaim a major league role.
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