Demotion talk with Rico Washington

Rico Washington was floundering on the bench in Triple-A. He was a little used veteran that was being called upon for pinch-hitting duties and the infrequent start. The San Diego Padres prospect had it rough and with an average below .200 it became harder and harder to find time in the field. Then came the demotion to Double-A Mobile and Washington got a start in his first game and responded to the wakeup call.

But for any prospect that is on the cusp, being sent down had to anger Washington.

The former Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand looked at the Padres as a way to find a new life. A way to get back on that track that made him a top prospect in the Pirates system. After hitting 14 homers and knocking in 60 runs for Mobile he got the promotion to Portland late last year and started the season off with the Beavers. A slump just never allowed him to get into a groove and he was replaced in the lineup. And the chances to play got slimmer and slimmer.

Then came the demotion as Mobile was on its midseason break:

Rico Washington sent down from Portland to Mobile.'

"In a way I am not really mad I got sent down," Washington explained. "There were a lot of guys in Triple-A and I was not getting the playing time. I just had bad luck. I hit the ball well but the hits just weren't falling. I wasn't playing much so I am happy and relieved that I am in Double-A so I can get things going again and get more playing time."

For a guy who was lucky to get a pinch-hitting at bat, being sent down to play the game he loves on a regular basis could be a blessing.

But what about his troubles in a limited role in Portland, was it all just a timing issue since he was not playing everyday? Was he unable to get into that zone?

"It is not really a timing thing," Washington said. "You have to be in the lineup everyday. It is kind of hard not being in the lineup everyday and not getting to play four, five, six days at a time. It is hard to hit that way, especially at the Triple-A level.

"I have been a starter pretty much all of my career and to sit on the bench and get a start every four,, five, six, seven days and I went on a streak where I almost didn't play ten games in a row. That's tough for me."

And in his first game back with the BayBears, Washington went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Washington knocked in the last run of the night in the victory.

"Right now I am happy and relieved. The chemistry just wasn't good in Triple-A. In Mobile they are down here winning. They clinched the first half and they are having fun – that brings life into you."


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