Ryal Keeps It Real

Versatile infielder has excelled in Mobile




PHOENIXBig things have come in bunches this season for Rusty Ryal.

Ryal hit two home runs as part of a five-hit game for Double-A Mobile on June 20, the same day he spent extra time with BayBears' hitting coach Turner Ward fine-tuning his stroke in early batting practice.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Ryal had another two-homer game on Aug. 9, making another statement in a season that has seen his stock rise and that could earn him an invitation to finish the season in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League.

"He has really refined his hitting approach, and he has a very consistent approach," Diamondbacks farm director A.J. Hinch said.

Ryal, 25, made the Southern League all-star game and was hitting .273/.336/.445 through 400 at-bats.

A 14th-round pick in 2005 out of Oklahoma State, Ryal has the game in his genes—his father, Mark, played for five teams over six major league seasons during a 14-year professional career.

"He has made an adjustment to attack strikes," Hinch said. "He had somewhat of a tendency to get himself out, because he was very hard on himself."

Ryal, a third baseman in college, has played second and third at Mobile, where was he one home run short of a career high after combining for 17 at high Class A Visalia and Mobile in 2007. He was sixth in the Rookie-level Pioneer League batting race at .333 in 2005, when he led the league in runs.

"His biggest thing is that he does a lot of things well," Hinch said. "He is a good, well-rounded baseball player. He's a grinder, and I consider that a compliment. He is useful in a lot of different areas."

Snake Bites

• Lefthander Daniel Schlereth, the Diamondbacks' first-round pick, headed to low Class A South Bend after making only three appearances for Rookie-level Missoula, where he gave up an unearned run and three hits in three innings while striking out six and walking two. He touched 94-95 mph with his fastball in his final appearance for Missoula on Aug. 10.

•  Righthander Kevin Eichhorn, who signed for an above-slot bonus of $500,000 as a third-rounder, did not pitch much this summer and will be on a throwing program for a couple of weeks before making his pro debut at the end of Missoula's season.