Hitting With Purpose

Cavazos-Galvez hopes his stats will get noticed




Only off the field is Brian Cavazos-Galvez an open book, where he freely welcomes others to take a peek inside no matter how awkward the view.

On the field, that book is slammed shut and sealed tight, giving opponents little chance to get inside his head and upend his ultimate goal. Destined to be a Dodger and determined to make his father proud even though he hasn't talked to him in 12 years, Cavazos-Galvez couldn't have mapped this out better if somebody was granting him three wishes.

Cavazos-Galvez was all-state in baseball twice at Albuquerque's Manzano High. He was an all-American (and made the dean's list) at New Mexico JC. He was a two-time all-Mountain West Conference performer at the University of New Mexico.

The Dodgers drafted him in the 12th round in June, and he has kept hitting as a pro. Cavazos-Galvez was batting .336/.362/.636 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs for Rookie-level Ogden. The outfielder's 28 doubles led the Pioneer League, six ahead of his closest pursuer. He was tied for the league lead in RBIs.

Cavazos-Galvez is fine if his on-field achievements have not been noticed by his father. He knows there is much more work to be done. His lifelong dream of making the major leagues doesn't just involve fame and fortune. The guy has a hole in his heart to fill.

A Born Dodger

Albuquerque is a way station for hot Dodgers prospects again, just as it was from 1972 to 2000. The names that have passed through the city on the Rio Grande read like a who's-who of modern Dodgers history: Mike Piazza, Orel Hershiser, Pedro Martinez, Fernando Valenzuela, Raul Mondesi and Mike Scioscia are among the many who have spent time in Albuquerque. Tommy Lasorda managed there in 1973.

A lesser known player named Balvino Galvez also pitched there in 1986 before getting called up to the Dodgers later that year. While in Albuquerque, Galvez was introduced to the Cavazos family, a Spanish-speaking clan that had befriended Latin prospects for years.

Martinez and Mondesi were regulars at the Cavazos home.

"When those guys played in Albuquerque, (the Cavazos family) used to go there and help them out, take them to places, take them to eat, sometimes the players stayed with the family," said Dodgers first base coach Mariano Duncan, who spent his share of time with the Cavazos as well.

Cynthia Cavazos, who used to help her mother take care of the players, hit it off with Galvez during the 1986 season. In May of 1987 Brian Cavazos-Galvez was born.

When baseball started again in '87 Galvez was at Vero Beach before he was traded to the Tigers. He then bounced around to Orlando, Portland, Columbus, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, San Antonio and back to Albuquerque for 30 games in 1992.

It never worked out between Cavazos and Galvez, though. Brian Cavazos-Galvez said that his father left to play baseball in Japan in the early 1990s and married somebody else.

If there were any hard feelings, the Cavazos family kept them from little Brian.

"I have all of my old baby pictures and in most of them I'm wearing Dodgers stuff," Cavazos-Galvez said. "Of all the players that were in my house, Mondesi was my favorite."

Cavazos-Galvez last talked to his father in 1997 when he was 10 years old.

"It's pretty much in his hands," he said of a potential reunion with his dad, who has returned to his native Dominican Republic. "I would like to talk to him. It's been a very long time. I still have some family ties. Mariano Duncan and him are good friends."

Cavazos-Galvez knows his father has an entirely different life, yet the 21-year-old isn't backing away from putting the Galvez name into the spotlight. If anything, he is determined to make it as public as possible. He knows there is a reunion to plan somewhere down the line.

Whatever It Takes

Duncan sits at his locker in the Dodger Stadium coaches' room and regularly looks at the team's minor league statistics. He starts with Ogden. He doesn't have to look very far down to see the offensive exploits of Cavazos-Galvez. He considers himself the kid's uncle, and he beams with pride at the totals.

"I say, I'm happy for him because he's putting in a name for himself," Duncan said. "At the same time I say, 'Don't worry about your daddy. Everything will be there at the right time.' "

Cavazos-Galvez has made a seamless transition from Division I to the pros. "Quality and consistency are my goals," he said. "I'm prepared to do anything they need. I can increase my power numbers if they want, and if I had to, I can trim down and add more doubles."

The Dodgers were interested in drafting Cavazos-Galvez in 2008, but backed off when they thought he didn't want to sign. It turned out that his draft paperwork wasn't filed properly and the Dodgers took that as a sign the kid had decided against turning pro.

"That was never the case," Cavazos-Galvez said. "I turned in my papers and they were lost. They said, 'We never got your papers.' "

The Dodgers waited another year before grabbing their guy. Duncan said he stayed on the scouting department to make sure they had his "nephew" on their radar.

Despite not talking to his dad for a dozen years and nearly missing out on being drafted by the Dodgers, Cavazos-Galvez wouldn't change a thing. While he can't say why he thinks all this has happened the way it has, he knows he is close to something special.

"Growing up I can remember all the little things like being in the Dukes locker room and being on the field," he said. "It just feels like it's destiny that it has all worked out like this."