The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Pro

June 30, 2013

Roberts earns rapid promotion from Diamondbacks

JOHNSTOWN — George Roberts needed only three games to earn his first promotion in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league system.

The Forest Hills graduate and former AAABA League MVP is adapting to the pace in the Class A short season Northwest League. A rookie first baseman, Roberts played his fifth game with the Hillsboro (Ore.) Hops on Saturday.

 “Everything’s been really good so far,” said Roberts before Saturday night’s game against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. “It’s a little bit tougher (facing) pitching at this level, but everything has been going great. There are good coaches and good hitting coaches. I’m just trying to find a rhythm right now. I’m in a little bit of a slump.”

Roberts had one hit in his first 14 at-bats in the Northwest League, though he consistently is hitting the ball hard. On Saturday, Roberts was 1-for-3 with a run and a stolen base to raise his batting average to .125 (2-for-16). He’s scored five runs.

“Right now, I’m hitting the ball at people,” Roberts said. “I’m putting good swings on it. I’ve been unlucky here, but you’ve got to stay positive. If you start pressing, you’re in trouble. I’ve got to stay positive and keep working.”

The Diamondbacks selected Roberts in the 26th round out of Kent State in the MLB draft earlier this month. Roberts was the MAC Player of the Year as a junior and played in the College World Series. He batted .358 during his senior season and has been labeled one of the best players in Kent State baseball history.

The Summerhill native got out to a great start with the AZL D-Backs, a rookie league team based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Roberts went 3-for-10, batting .300 with a double, a triple and two RBI.

His hitting coach with the rookie club was former major league slugger Mark Grace.

At Hillsboro, the hitting coach is J.R. House, the former Pittsburgh Pirates prospect.

“I had a chance to work with Mark Grace, a great hitter,” said Roberts, who played in the AAABA Tournament with Delweld. “After the third game, I was told I was promoted. I just was getting settled in and I was told I was moving.

“Our hitting coach (House) mixes different pitches that you’ll see,” he added. “We get a lot of repetition, which is huge. We get the park five or six hours before the game and we work out right until the game.”

Roberts has received plenty of support from family and friends back home.

His older brother, Rick Roberts, provides first-hand knowledge of the pro experience. The Detroit Tigers took Rick Roberts in the 10th round in 1997 and he advanced to Class AAA in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization until an arm injury cut short the left-hander’s career.

“Rick just says to keep working hard and do your best,” George Roberts said. “He tells me not to press. Hits eventually will fall.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro
  • Dodgers Pirates Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
    Polanco, hitting just .133 in his previous 11 games, smacked a bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth to put Pittsburgh in front for good.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy 0720 McIlroy holds on to win British Open

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.
    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0719 Pirates take second straight over Rockies, win in 11th inning

    Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
    Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • out at home Eighth-inning rally carries Pirates to victory over Rockies

    Travis Snider’s pinch-hit double in the eighth scored Neil Walker to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
    Walker trotted home when Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez couldn’t track down Snider’s sinking line drive off reliever Matt Belisle (2-5). All-Star Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly one batter later.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • score Pirates in race, hope for late surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day – if still heated – pennant race.
    A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derby 0714 Cespedes wins again, beating Frazier in HR derby

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-Star Game 0714 Pitching matchup features two of game’s most dominant arms

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeter 0714 Derek Jeter, an All-Star for the last time

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads