Outfielder Paul prospering since joining Pirates
SAN DIEGO — Outfielder Xavier Paul knew when the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Tony Gwynn Jr. in the offseason that one of two things would probably happen.
Either Paul would be gone, or the two would battle for a job. Paul, 26 and out of minor league options, made the club out of spring training for the first time. Then the Dodgers recalled outfield prospect Jerry Sands from Triple-A Albuquerque, relegating Gwynn Jr. to a bench role. Paul was designated for assignment on April 18.
Claimed off waivers by the Pirates on April 26, Paul made his third start in a row in left field Tuesday against the San Diego Padres in place of the injured Jose Tabata.
Paul was 2 for 4 during his first game against the Colorado Rockies, with a triple, a walk, two RBI and one stolen base. On Monday against the Padres, he went 2 for 4 with another stolen base.
"It's only been a couple days, but to get off to a pretty good start is exciting," Paul said. "I think the main thing is I'm really having fun playing with these guys. I keep telling people we're all young, we've got a lot of energy, and I think for a young team we have a lot of positive energy. Coming to the park, we expect to win."
Paul, understandably, had mixed feelings when he learned he'd been designated for assignment. The Dodgers drafted him in the fourth round in 2003 and gave him his first shot at the big leagues, and Paul also learned a great deal from some of his former teammates.
One was outfielder Juan Pierre, with whom he briefly lived and is one of the people Paul credits with developing his aggressive baserunning, among other skills.
"I think his work ethic and attitude about how to play the game is one thing I tried to grasp onto and make a part of my character," Paul said. "Get to the park early; get your work in; when you're out on the field give 110 percent; never take anything for granted. Those are the things Juan Pierre takes out there every day. To have a guy like that mentoring you, I feel like I was lucky and blessed to have that."
Another person Paul said he learned from was Manny Ramirez, who retired April 8 after violating the major leagues' drug policy for a second time.
"The best hitter that I've ever been around," Paul said. "Sitting on the bench behind him and getting to go in the cages with him, pick his brain about different pitchers, pitch selection, approach at the plate — who else would you want to talk to besides one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game• I learned a lot over there, a lot of things that I'm grateful for."
Manager Clint Hurdle said it was to quick to judge Paul's baserunning instincts after his short stint with the Pirates.
"I'm not quick to jump out there when people say what does this mean and what does that mean," Hurdle said. "He did a nice job, and I'm looking forward to bundling some games together and seeing what he can do with it."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Pirates recall Decker, send Cumpton back to Indy
- Report links Pirates first baseman Sanchez to PEDs while in college
- Statistically speaking: Mesoraco, Martin travel different paths to success
- Friday’s scouting report: Pirates at Reds
- Volquez goes distance as Pirates roll to victory over Cardinals
- Kovacevic: No measuring Harrison’s heart
- Pirates can’t make up for miscues from Cumpton in loss to Cards
- Pirates notebook: Marte placed on bereavement leave
- Pirates shortstop Barmes out 4-6 weeks with groin strain
- Phillies pitcher Burnett relishes return to Pittsburgh
- Pirates notebook: Liriano could make weekend start vs. Reds