Friday, January 24th is 66 days away from Opening Day on March 31st. You’ve found my “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” series which counts down to Opening Day by way of Spring Training uniform numbers.
Today’s article is going up very late (though still on the proper day) due to some outside factors. Enjoy, and come back over the weekend for more columns.
He was a late invitee to camp last year as he handled some of the available catching duties while both Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado were away from camp. He played a bit of third base for the Class-AAA affiliate Nashville Sounds in addition to catching duties at both Nashville and Class-AA Huntsville. He even appeared in one game each at both first base and left field.
He’ll be wearing a jersey numbered 66 when he reports to Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, Arizona no later than Saturday, February 15th. He is…
A native of the Dominican Republic, Diaz was signed as an international free agent back in 2000 by the Toronto Blue Jays. He would eventually make his MLB debut for Toronto in 2008 at age 24 before being sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates as the “Player to be Named Later” in the deal that sent Jose Bautista north of the border. Diaz would make 43 appearances for Pittsburgh and hit pretty well in an extremely small sample size.
The Brewers are the sixth franchise to employ Diaz in his 13 professional seasons. (He had two stints with Texas.) And as he gets up in years he’s looking to add to his versatility in an attempt to break back into the big leagues.
The versatility and his bat would be what get him there if he makes it. Diaz has a career minor league slash line of .298/.332/.396 which includes a .284/.312/.393 line exclusive to the Triple-A level.
As for 2014, Diaz will likely break camp by heading to Nashville where some combination of he, Adam Weisenburger and Matt Pagnozzi will pair together as the primary catchers.
Diaz saw a ton of time behind the plate in the 2013 edition of the Cactus League. He won’t catch as much in games this spring but you can expect him to still get a fair share before being ultimately reassigned to the minor league side.
While he’s in, enjoy the stick.