Higashioka Looking For His Opportunies

Higgy has just four Double-A games under his belt

Behind home plate, squeezed between a batter and an umpire, one particular position player is often overlooked on a baseball team- the catcher. With just a few days on the Trenton Thunder roster, catcher Kyle Higashioka is already turning heads with his defensive game as a newbie in Double-A, making management excited for what's to come.

"He just go here and is doing a great job [for a] young guy," Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. "First time at this level and I'm quite pleased with what he has done. [Kyle] hasn't had a great deal of opportunity to play yet but, I think he has played [four] games, he has done well. I only suspect that he is going to get better.

"It is going to take some time for him to get adjusted to the league like it does for new and first year guys. Once he does that he will be just fine.

"He's really a pretty good catcher and just hasn't had a real opportunity to show what he can do offensively. I think he is going to be just fine. He is doing a great job for us."

Back in 2008, Higashioka [aka "Higgy"] was drafted out of the seventh round of the MLB Draft. Healed from past shoulder injuries that he "continues to take care of everyday", Higgy is ready to continue his road to the majors and focus on this season, especially already familiar with some of his current teammates.

"It's fun," Higashioka said. "I came up with most of the guys. This year was my second year in high-A and most of them started here, but it is good to be back with most of the guys that I know well."

With familiar faces beside him, the California native is ready to experience this level of baseball and work on "finding [his] approach at the plate and get [his] swing down."

"I'm looking forward to getting more experience at a higher level," he said. "It's been the highest I have been at so far, so it's good. It'll be a fun experience."

With it only being late June, the 6-foot righty has plenty of time to practice and grow as a player.

"I'm pretty sure he is happy where he is right now at this level; getting a chance to play here," Franklin said. "Time is going to tell what he is going to do. What I expect of him is what I expect of everybody, just go out there and give an honest effort and the industry will decide where you are.

"Nothing is final until the end of the year. We'll evaluate what he has done and the time that he has been here at the end of the year and we'll see where he stands. Like most players, all they want to do is play well every day and that's basically all I ask of them."

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