Soto gets it going after tough start at third
By Marc Katz
Monday, July 07, 2008
DAYTON — Neftali Soto had a rough start to his Dayton Dragons career Sunday, July 6, but what would you expect after he caught a flight at 6 a.m. from Billings, Mont., where he was playing in the rookie Pioneer League?
And he made up for it fast.
"I'm excited to be here," said Soto, who was told just prior to Saturday night's game at Billings.
Soto arrived in Dayton in the middle of the afternoon in time for batting practice and to find out he was playing third base and batting third. He had been hitting .388 at Billings, and the Dragons needed a third baseman after discovering Brandon Waring has a hairline fracture on his left thumb.
"When you call a guy up to the big leagues, it's usually not to sit," Dragons manager Donnie Scott said. "That's the way it is here, too."
In the first inning, Soto — just 19 — grounded into a double play. In the second, he threw away a grounder that led to a West Michigan run. In the fourth, he made a longer, more difficult throw, and it was perfect.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Soto knocked in one run with a double to right and scored from third on a wild pitch. Soto is a high-profile prospect. He was a supplemental first-round draft pick last year.
Waring will return
Waring, meanwhile, thinks he can return to the lineup in as little as a week or 10 days.
Originally, Waring thought he only sprained the thumb.
"We had X-rays taken in Midland, Mich. (where the Dragons were playing), and the doctor said he didn't see anything (wrong)," Waring said. "We brought the X-rays here, and as soon as the light went on, our doctor said, 'Oh, you have a broken thumb.' "
Although it will take about four weeks for the thumb to heal completely, Waring said he will be able to play with a thumb brace. He leads the Dragons with 15 homers and 47 RBIs.
Scott and Scott
David Scott, manager Donnie Scott's son, is visiting this week. He played with the GCL Reds in rookie ball last season, hitting .293 with two homers and 22 RBIs. He's now working in Florida, near his home. Scott played with current Dragons Kevyn Feiner, Devin Mesoraco, Justin Reed, Neftali Soto, Jonathan Conatser, Jeremy Horst, Kyle Lotzkar and Curtis Partch.