PHOENIX Tony Delmonico, the Dodgers' fourth-round selection in last June's draft out of Florida State, is being converted from middle infielder to catcher, a process that began last fall at instructional league.
"We thought he had the right body type for catching," Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White said. "We also felt like he had good hands and could hit, so we figured we would put him behind the plate."
After an outstanding debut at Rookie-level Ogden, where he hit .340/.443/.716 with 20 doubles, 11 home runs and 39 RBIs, Delmonico took to his new position fairly well in spring training, although he remains a work in progress.
"He just needed to get a little more flexibile through his hips, and his hammies were a little tight," White said. "But he worked hard in the offseason doing yoga, and he did a lot of work with our conditioning people, so I think he'll be fine."
Delmonico, 22, spent his first professional spring training not only honing his catching skills, but also closely following the World Baseball Classic, where the Netherlands became the feel-good story of the tournament. That team was managed by Delmonico's father, former Tennessee coach Rod Delmonico, and upset the heavily favored Dominican Republic twice in pool play to advance to the second round before being eliminated.
"It's a little bit of an 'Angels in the Outfield' thing they have going on," Tony Delmonico said. "Proud pretty much sums it all up. Words can't describe (it)."