Berkery begins his playoff endeavor

After a late-season relocation to Double-A Frisco, Thomas Berkery finds himself fighting with the 'Riders in the thick of a tough Texas League divisional playoff. Lone Star Dugout caught up with the all-purpose infielder about his first full season in professional ball.

Twenty-four year old Thomas Berkery's first playoff experience as a minor leaguer is well underway. With the Frisco Roughriders locked in a best-of-five playoff against the San Antonio Missions, he finds himself thrust into the middle of a tough Texas League playoff series.

Berkery, who joined the Roughriders late in their season, is definitely excited about the opportunity.

"It's really cool to step in here, play six regular season games, and then have a chance to win a ring with the group of guys they have here," he said of his current ballclub. "There's a very good possibility we could take this whole thing."

Berkery's tale is one many can relate to since the implementation of the Major League Baseball draft-and-follow rule, which took place between the 1986 and ‘87 drafts.

In June of 2005, the Rangers used their 46th pick to select Berkery, who was a catcher in his junior year at Mississippi State. They opted not to sign him, and Berkery returned to school where he switched to shortstop, led the SEC in hitting with a .384 average, and won first-team all-Southeastern Conference honors.

The Rangers held his rights over to his senior year of 2006, but couldn't sign him until the college season was over. After the Bulldogs missed out on the NCAA postseason, the Rangers were able to swoop in and sign him to a contact.

This year marked Berkery's first full season in professional ball with the Rangers organization, and he posted some sturdy numbers while at High-A Bakersfield with a .252 average and 32 RBI in 97 games.

While he's hit just .167 in 24 at-bats since an August 30th promotion to Double-A Frisco, overall Berkery is pleased with his progression.

"I feel like it's gone pretty good," he said of his 2007 season. "I haven't really put up quite the numbers I'd like to see, but I've hit the ball hard and it's gotten me to Frisco, so it must have been good enough."

Although he's played four different positions in each of his four collegiate seasons, and entered into the outfield mix this year in Bakersfield, Berkery isn't necessarily a utility man by trade.

But he's come to relish that role this season.

"I enjoy it because it keeps me fresh," he said of his utility man title. "You can't follow any pattern and it causes you to not get lazy. It makes me work hard everyday to get reacquainted with a position."

"It doesn't matter if you don't get into games during the week, they still want to know you're able to go out there and make the plays."

Undoubtedly, the hope for Thomas Berkery is that he'll have plenty more of those opportunities this month in Frisco as they continue their push to another Texas League title.

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