According to a University of Tennessee press release, the Texas Rangers promoted Julio Borbon to the Major Leagues on Monday afternoon.
"This is a very important day for me and my family," Borbon told his former school. "It is so exciting and satisfying to see my dream come true. To think that just two years ago I?was at Tennessee and now I'm experiencing this lifelong dream—it's hard to describe how I'm feeling right now. I?owe thanks to so many people for helping to guide me along the way."
The centerfielder had spent his entire season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he batted .298 with 11 doubles, five triples, and two home runs. He had drawn 25 walks while striking out just 29 times in 302 at-bats. Additionally, the speedster had 19 stolen bases in 23 attempts.
In 24 June games, Borbon was having his best month of the season, hitting .323 with four doubles, one triple, and two homers. He had 10 walks and 10 strikeouts in 99 official at-bats.
The 23-year-old was the 35th overall selection in the 2007 MLB Draft.
Lone Star Dugout chatted with him after the Oklahoma City RedHawks played Round Rock on Friday evening.
Jason Cole: You're getting your first taste of Triple-A ball this year. How is it going?
Julio Borbon: So far, it has been an up-and-down season for me, just starting out with the cold weather. It's pretty much like that everywhere other than out there in the west coast—the Cal League like I did last year. But other than that, I've learned a lot being around veterans and guys that have been around baseball for awhile. I'd say it has really been a joy for me to be able to go out there every day and learn something from other guys like these.
Cole: I want to go back to your offseason. At least, I guess you could call it an offseason. You played extremely well in the Fall League and continued that in the Dominican. What was the key for you?
Borbon: It's just staying healthy pretty much. That has been the key for me. Ever since I got hurt in Bakersfield. Or not hurt, but I had that little issue with my ankle sprain and I was out for two weeks. After that, I've been able to stay healthy and get some at-bats and get it going. That has pretty much been it. I've been able to feel comfortable and go out there and perform. Pretty much everything has been able to take care of itself.
Cole: This past year was your first year playing winterball, right?
Borbon: Yeah. I've been around the league, just watching guys play and workout. But I never was able to play because you've got to be a professional. Being in my first year, I was around a lot of big leaguers and I was able to learn from them and see how they went about the game every day. It was quite an experience for me. I was able to get a lot out of it.
Cole: Yeah, what was that experience like in front of the crowds and that atmosphere?
Borbon: It's crazy. You go out there and you hear the crowd, and you feel like you're in a 50,000 seat stadium. But it's really like 12 to 15,000. The fans are so crazy and you get caught up in how much of a big deal baseball is down there. You're able to go out there and see how those fans are and be able to perform in front of them. It's kind of an opportunity to realize how important it is for the fans down there to be able to see us play.
Cole: You played just about the whole season there, right?
Borbon: Yeah. I played about 35 games including playoffs. I was there a little bit past halfway and was able to go all the way until the end.
Cole: I know around that halfway point, a lot of the more advanced guys start playing. In general, what is the talent level and the level of play like compared to Double-A or Triple-A ball?
Borbon: It's definitely big league-level, from top to bottom. Here or there, you sneak in a Double-A or Triple-A guy like me. But other than that, it's pretty much a whole lineup and pitching staff of big league-level guys.
That was the biggest thing for me, to be able to go out there and get comfortable around guys like that and come back and perform the way I've been doing so far. It's important when you go out there and see those guys play. You realize that it's the same game. It gives you kind of a comfort to go out there and do what you're capable of doing.
Cole: Playing a full regular season last year, going straight into the Fall League and then going out to the Dominican and almost directly into Spring Training, was there ever a fatigue factor?
Borbon: It was. It was at a point later on in the season, when I was in the Dominican. When it got to late-December or early-January, right before we were done, I was exhausted. I knew there were three weeks coming up and I was going to be able to recover and gather myself.
I went straight out after Double-A and had about nine days off. Then I went right into the Fall League and got close to 100 at-bats. Then I went to the Dominican and got around 130 at-bats. So I was able to get somewhere around 800 at-bats. It was something I knew I needed to do if I wanted to get to where I'm at and where I want to go. That was pretty much the key—to go out there and, like I said earlier, just stay healthy and be around the guys that I was around.
Cole: Going back to your current season. I know you've had a great month—certainly your best of the year statistically. What has been the difference for you?
Borbon: It has been just getting accustomed and understanding the way the Triple-A pitching goes. It's not just about 2-0 fastball counts and getting fastballs when you want. It's pretty much whenever you can't really tell what is coming at you—no matter the count—you've just got to be ready to hit anything. Just look for those counts, and if you don't get it, you've got to learn also to not swing at certain pitches. I've been able to learn that throughout the season. I've been able to pick that up later on. I've been playing and we've been able to go back and play other teams that we've played earlier in the year.
Cole: Is there anything mechanically or technically that you've been working on at the plate this season with Scott Coolbaugh?
Borbon: I've been working on two-strike approach and just using he whole field. That has pretty much been it—just seeing more pitches. Not trying to walk, but kind of shrinking that strike zone. You want to make the pitcher throw more pitches and lay off some pitcher's pitches. I think those are the little things we've been able to work on so far.
Cole: In the right-center field gap, you and Golson both had a couple of big catches out there that pretty much helped save the game. Can you talk about being able to play alongside a guy like Golson? I know you guys cover a lot of ground out there.
Borbon: Yeah, it's fun. I know Golson is a centerfield type too. He was able to show off the way he's been able to run down balls, and also his ability to throw the ball. It's fun when you've got that comfort of having someone out there to your left that can make up for anything that happens to you out there. As far as helping each other out, we've been able to learn a lot from each other. That has been a big key for both of us learning-wise as far as the season goes.
Cole: Being on the 40-man roster, are you possibly looking for a big league callup before the end of the season? Do you ever think about that?
Borbon: It has been a hard thing. Earlier in the year, you're trying to figure out when and all that. But I was able to get away from that, and I think that's another reason why I've been able to perform the way I feel like I'm capable of. Just kind of let that take care of itself and whenever they need me, they can let me know. Otherwise, I'm just going to keep playing my game and try to get better down here until they realize they need me.
Borbon becoming selective at plate
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