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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Erick Almonte Hits Second Career Home Run Exactly Eight Years After His First

There weren't too many positives to take from yesterday's loss to the Reds. Shaun Marcum struggled to find his location in the first two innings (with some help by an umpire who apparently thought Marcum's strike zone should be tighter than his opponent's). Perhaps that should have been expected after he missed one of his spring starts. He found his groove in the third and struck out seven over 4.2 innings. The biggest highlight of the day, however, had to be Erick Almonte's solo home run to lead off the fifth inning. The second of his career, he hit his first way back in 2003 with the Yankees while filling in at short stop for the injured Derek Jeter.

Almonte's only other Major League home run came on April 2 of 2003, eight years prior to yesterday's home run to the day. An incredible coincidence added to an already inspiring story. Almonte has played in 40 Major League games in his career. Until his pinch-hit entry into Thursday's opener, he last appeared in the Majors in 2003. Since then he's played in Japan, independent ball, and several minor league affiliates. He spent the last two seasons at AAA Nashville.

Frankly, no one expected him to make the club out of Spring Training this year. He clearly impressed team officials by hitting .416/.438/.636, and even though Spring Training stats truly mean very little, that average stands out when coming from a career minor leaguer. Ron Roenicke said late last month that what impressed him the most was Almonte's approach at the plate, consistently putting together quality at bats. His story is already one to remember. If he can help the Brewers win some games this year it will be even more so.

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