Whittleman heads to Bakersfield

After spending nearly two full seasons with the Clinton LumberKings, third baseman John Whittleman received a promotion to High-A Bakersfield on Sunday evening. Lone Star Dugout chatted with the prospect about leaving Clinton, playing in Bakersfield, and his recent slump.

Third baseman John Whittleman received a surprising message after Clinton's 3-0 loss on Sunday afternoon, as he learned he was promoted to High-A Bakersfield.

"I'm excited," said Whittleman. "It's part of the game, you're going to move up along the line."

Whittleman, who had spent nearly two full seasons with the LumberKings, had been through his share of ups and downs with the club. The team finished with a record of 45-94 in 2006, but they were able to clinch a playoff spot before the All-Star break this season.

The 20-year-old admits it is tough to leave Clinton, but he looks forward to playing in Bakersfield.

"I was looking forward to getting a ring here in Clinton," he said, "but now my goal is to help Bakersfield and try to get them to the playoffs.

Though he has officially been added to the Bakersfield roster, Whittleman was still in Clinton on Monday afternoon. He will travel to Bakersfield on Tuesday morning and expects to be in the lineup that night.

The promotion comes in the middle of a big slump for Whittleman, who is hitting just .154 (12-for-78) with two extra base hits – both doubles – in the month of July. He believes slumps are part of the process for a developing player.

"You're going to have your ups and downs, both fielding and hitting," explained Whittleman. "It's just part of the game and you try and figure out ways to get out of it as quickly as possible. That's part of the development process, to learn how to overcome those slumps."

As for what Whittleman is doing to get out of the slump, he says it just takes extra work.

"I've been doing some different drills, trying some different stuff, and some different approaches," he said. "I kept on working hard at it. Part of it is fatigue and being mentally tired. That's why you have to go in the cage and just work. I've been going to the cage over and over and I'm trying to work at it."

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