Majewski making the most of opportunity

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Dustin Majewski's Triple-A career is off to a solid start, as he is putting together good at-bats, making solid contact, and he even hit a key home run on Sunday. Lone Star Dugout spoke with the outfielder after his first game with the RedHawks.

When outfielder Nelson Cruz suffered a hamstring injury in Oakland last week, the Texas Rangers called up Julio Borbon from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill in.

Borbon's move left a gap in the RedHawks' outfield, which was filled by Dustin Majewski on Friday.

The University of Texas product joined Oklahoma City in Sacramento, where they were facing the Oakland Athletics' Triple-A affiliate.

Majewski was originally drafted by the A's in the third round of the 2003 MLB Draft. He spent parts of three seasons with the club before being traded to the Blue Jays for pitcher Chad Gaudin.

The Rangers got Majewski in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft prior to the 2008 season. He posted strong numbers with Double-A Frisco in '08, batting .286 with 32 doubles, 10 homers and 82 walks [versus 82 strikeouts] in 430 at-bats.

The 27-year-old began his 2009 campaign with Frisco again, and he suffered a rough first half. Majewski battled a pair of injuries and he was unable to find his stride at the plate. But during July, Majewski's first fully healthy month of the year, he hit .280 with five doubles, one home run, and 20 walks in 100 at-bats. He was off to a strong start in August with the RoughRiders, going 9-for-25 [.360] with a pair of doubles.

In the short time since his promotion to Triple-A, Majewski has held his own. Although the Brenham native went hitless in his first game, he drew a walk and hit a couple of balls hard. Majewski singled and walked in four trips in his second game.

Then, on Sunday evening, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound outfielder belted a two-run homer off Fresno starter Ramon Ortiz, providing all of OKC's offense in the 2-1 victory.

When Nelson Cruz returns to the Rangers' lineup, Borbon may very well be sent back to Oklahoma City. Majewski could go back to Frisco when that happens, but he hopes to make the best of his time in Triple-A.

Lone Star Dugout spoke with Majewski after his first Triple-A game.

Jason Cole: How did they tell you that you were coming up to Triple-A and when did they let you know?

Dustin Majewski: They let me know after the game in Midland. I had a pretty good day hitting. I was walking up the staircase, and our hitting coach, Brant Brown, said, ‘Hey, you just thought you had a good day.' I didn't really know what he was talking about. Then he called me in and let me know that I was going up here. It was exciting, and it's a step in the right direction.

Cole: Tell me what your thoughts are on getting to Triple-A for the first time in your career and how is the experience so far?

Majewski: So far it's great. It's a good group of guys and a good experience. It's exciting to finally get the opportunity to move up. You've got a lot of talented outfielders up here and you've just got to wait for your time to get a chance. Hopefully things work out and I get to stay here for awhile and I can try to show what I can do.

Cole: You were drafted by the A's. Did you think that someday you would be playing in this ballpark, but just on the other side of things?

Majewski: Yeah. It's a little weird. When I first got drafted, this was a goal. To step into the big league with the A's, you go to Sacramento. And my first chance to get up here to Triple-A is in Sacramento. I guess it's a little ironic, but it is neat and it's a great ballpark, great fans, and a good atmosphere.

Cole: What were your thoughts on your season with Frisco this year?

Majewski: Frustrating early. I got a chance to play early and then got hurt. Then I went down to Arizona. When you're down there, you'll re-think a lot of things. I got out of there and then came back for a week and got hurt again.

It was frustrating for the first half of the season. The second half—getting back in the lineup eventually and I started to do okay. I was just hanging in there and things worked out.

Cole: Which injury was the first one? Was that the broken finger?

Majewski: The broken finger was the first one. Then I had a pulled oblique on the second injury. When you miss basically the first half of the season, it makes for a long year when you're sitting there and watching everybody else play. There's nothing you can do about it.

Cole: Was that the first time you'd had to go to Extended Spring Training for an injury?

Majewski: Yeah, it was the first time I've ever really been hurt. I went on the DL my first year during the last two days of the season and I missed the playoffs. But that's the first time I've ever been hurt to where I had to go down to Arizona or anywhere that I'd miss an extended amount of time.

Cole: What was that like being down there day in and day out? I know you said it can be tough being away from an actual team.

Majewski: When you're hurt, there's not a whole lot you can do. You're on a program. You go in—5:30 in the morning and you're up. At 6:00 you're doing your treatment. For the first couple of weeks, I was done by 10:00 in the morning, so that's a lot of time sitting in the hotel room and laying around and getting lazy.

That's the frustrating part. You're used to doing something and you get out of the whole rhythm of things. It makes for a long time of sitting there—ten hours a day just laying there in your hotel room.

Cole: Once you got back in June, it seemed like you were starting to hit and the walks were coming. Your power was even coming around over the last couple of weeks. What was the key to getting back to where you normally are at the plate?

Majewski: Now I'm starting to get a little more hand strength and in my fingers. I'm getting a little more flexibility to where I can grab and actually hold the bat and squeeze my hand. When you mess up your oblique, it's kind of a feel thing and you lose your swing a little bit. You start trying to keep from hurting it again.

That was the biggest thing. I started getting the strength back in my hand and getting the feel and my natural swing back. Things were starting to come together as far as the power and everything.

Cole: Talk about your first Triple-A game out here last night. You didn't have a hit, but it seemed like you squared up a couple of balls that didn't fall in and took some at-bats deep into the count.

Majewski: Right. That's baseball. You hit a lot of balls hard that you don't get hits on, and you hit a lot of balls soft that you do get hits on. They say they even out, but I don't believe that. I believe they even out as a team, I guess. A guy will hit a ball hard and he'll get out, then later on in the inning, a guy will roll one in there. I think they even out. But that's baseball. Those guys have been playing those positions for hundreds of years. You gotta hit ‘em where they ain't.

Cole: Now that you're in Triple-A, have you set any goals for yourself or are you looking for anything out of yourself for the stretch drive up here?

Majewski: Just try to keep the things that I was doing in Frisco going. Just to have consistent at-bats and don't let myself get thinking too far in advance. Just staying game-to-game and taking my approach to get on base and be a tough out for other teams.

Cole: How much different is Triple-A from Double-A in terms of everything like stadium, town, atmosphere in the clubhouse?

Majewski: Atmosphere in the clubhouse—everybody knows what they can and can't do. It seems like guys have a plan for what they want and have a play for what they do before and after games. When you're in Double-A and A-ball, that's when guys are learning all that stuff.

The stadiums—we played at a great stadium in Frisco. This is a great one. It's the only one I've been to. It's a great atmosphere here.

The guys—everybody has an idea and everybody understands what to do in a game. You don't have to look down and have a guy say, ‘Hey, we have to take this pitch. We swung at the first two pitches.' Guys know that kind of thing. The game runs smooth and kind of runs itself a lot more.

?Cole: So, a little more of a Major League-type of atmosphere around everything?

Majewski: Oh, definitely. You've got a lot of guys on both teams here that have been playing in the big leagues. Those guys know what they want to do and they know how they got there before. They're going to try to get back.

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