Outfielder Derek Fisher liked what he saw from the Tri-City ValleyCats’ offense against the Lowell Spinners on Sunday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
Sparked by left fielder Ryan Bottger’s 4-for-4, four-RBI effort, the Stedler Division-leading ’Cats collected 17 hits in an 11-3 New York-Penn League rout of the Spinners to complete a three-game sweep.
After signing with the Houston Astros last week, Fisher was assigned to the ’Cats on Sunday. Fisher was selected as a supplemental first-round pick (37th overall) in June’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft,
Fisher wasn’t in the lineup for the game. But he was excited to see Tri-City’s offensive outburst, and he can’t wait to contribute.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Fisher said. “Getting here with no expectations, honestly, and stepping in the clubhouse and the guys with open arms. They’re all unreal. They’re a lot of good guys who like to have fun and win baseball games.”
Fisher, who missed the first 25 games of the season with a broken hamate bone in his left wrist, batted .260 with three homers and 29 RBI in 44 games for the University of Virginia, which reached the College World Series championship series against Vanderbilt. Virginia lost the best-of-three series, 2-1.
In three seasons with the Cavaliers, Fisher batted .281 with 17 homers and 127 RBI. He also had 30 doubles and 12 triples.
Even though Virginia lost, Fisher was excited with the experience of playing on college baseball’s biggest diamond.
“It’s why you go to college,” Fisher said. “You go to college, you pick the program you think is going to win the most games and make you the best person and the best player. Going that way was definitely the best decision of my life. Going to Omaha was something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid.”
Fisher was a teammate of Clifton Park’s Branden Cogswell. Fisher had high praise for Cogswell, who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics.
“He’s a blue-collar guy,” Fisher said. “He rarely came out of a game with a clean uniform. Those kind of guys are a lot of fun to watch. Hopefully, he’ll have a great career, and I hope to see him here soon.”
Fisher will make his pro debut tonight when the ’Cats host the Connecticut Tigers. Tri-City manager Ed Romero will have some tough choices to make, especially after Bottger’s performance Sunday.
“With Fisher coming in, we have a little bit of a dilemma because Fisher’s going to play and [center fielder Bobby] Boyd is going to play,” Romero said. “We’re going to have to go in-and-out with [Ariel] Ovando, [Jose] Solano and Bottger in right field. We’ll do the best we can with that.”
The switch-hitting Bottger certainly made a case for more playing time. Batting right-handed against Spinners lefty starter Jake Drehoff, Bottger had an RBI double in the first inning, walked in the second and hit a solo homer in the fourth. He hit left-handed in his final two at-bats, singling off right-handed reliever Oscar Perez in the sixth and dropping an opposite-field double off righty Ellis Jimenez in the seventh.
Bottger even was outstanding defensively. He made a diving catch of Deinar Lopez’s drive in the ninth that could have been extra bases.
“I did all right,” Bottger said. “I just had a ton of fun today. It’s not how baseball works all of the time, so it was a fun day and a good day with the team.”
Bottger was thinking triple when he came to bat in the seventh.
“Honestly and selfishly, I was,” Bottger said. “I was trying to pull it down the right-field line and give myself a shot.”
’Cats third baseman J.D, Davis had two hits, including a three-run homer, and finished with five RBI. He had 10 RBI in the three-game series. . . .
Starter Luis Ordosgoitti (2-1) got the win. The righty allowed one run on four hits in five innings. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.