Baseball isnt often compared to boxing, but watching Stephen Bruno of the Boise Hawks bat is a little like watching him spar with the pitcher.
Bruno isnt the biggest player hes listed as 5-foot-9, 175 pounds but he brings a bulldog mentality to the batters box.
I dont like to get cheated at the plate at all, said Bruno, who scored the winning run in Boises 10-9 win over Spokane on Tuesday night. Bruno went 3-for-5 in the win, with two RBIs and two runs scored as he raised his batting average to .324. I love hitting, and its such a great adrenaline rush when I get up to the plate and Im facing the pitcher. Im a big competitor, and I just love to hit.
Boise manager Mark Johnson said he knows what hes going to get from Brunos at-bats.
He sticks his nose in there and always battles, Johnson said. Hes definitely a grinder.
Hes also versatile. Bruno has played six different positions in the field. Tuesday night, he was playing third base, the position he played while at the University of Virginia. But hes also played shortstop, second base and all three spots in the outfield.
Its nice having a guy who will go anywhere, especially when it keeps his bat in the lineup, Johnson said. Hes moved all over.
Bruno said being a utility player keeps him on his toes.
It keeps you honest, keeps you humble and you learn something new every day, he said. This is my 105th game, between college and coming here, and it just keeps it fun. You go to the field not knowing what position youre going to play. Ive never really played outfield before. It gets you back to the basics.
Hes hoping that will help him cut down on errors: He has team 12 errors, which tied him with shortstop Marco Hernandez for the most miscues on the Hawks roster.
Honestly, I have never made as many errors in a short amount of time like I have, Bruno said. But its about adjustments, and thats the thing about minor league baseball, each plays a new play. You cant dwell on it.
And Johnson said he doesnt expect Bruno to get down on himself.
He was kind of worried about his errors, but I said, Hey man, youve been playing all over the place. Thats something you dont even need to worry about.
Errors or no errors, Bruno leads by example with his determination, said his roommate, Trey Martin.
He competes every pitch and every at-bat, Martin said. And he plays every position hard.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424