George Roberts’ up-close glimpse of the major leagues during his first spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks took on a whole new meaning on Friday night.
The Forest Hills High School graduate and former AAABA League MVP has been productive throughout the spring, especially at the plate.
But Roberts took another huge step on the developmental pipeline when the Diamondbacks included him in a group of minor league players added to the big club’s lineup for an exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field in Phoenix. A member of the D-Backs media relations department said Roberts officially was a reserve for the game and had been penciled in to pinch hit if the opportunity arose.
The game began at 9:40 p.m. and ended too late to be included in this report.
“He’s been tearing the cover off the ball and he had nine or 10 doubles in spring training,” said Rick Roberts, George’s older brother and a former minor league pitcher. “He’s really getting a good taste of what it’s like in the big leagues this spring.”
A former MAC Player of the Year at Kent State University, George Roberts plays first base and is in his second year with the Diamondbacks organization.
Arizona selected him in the 26th round of last June’s Major League Draft. Roberts batted .300 in a short stay at the rookie level and earned a promotion to the short-season Class A Hillsboro Hops in the Northwest League. George Roberts batted .251 with nine doubles, seven homers and 35 RBI in his first pro season.
George Roberts worked out with Arizona’s high Class A Visalia Rawhide team throughout spring training. While not announced officially yet, Rick Roberts said indications are that his brother will start the season with the South Bend Silver Hawks in the full-season Class A Midwest League.
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.