D-backs' Borchering Makes Shift To The Outfield

PHOENIX—When drafted in 2009, switch-hitting third baseman Bobby Borchering drew comparisons to Chipper Jones because of the pop in his bat. The Diamondbacks are finding similarities in Borchering's versatility, too.

Borchering, a Florida high school star like Jones before turning pro, made the conversion from the corner infield—he played third base and first last season—to left field in instructional league and appears to be set there for the foreseeable future.

"We think that on his path to the big leagues, in the long-term, outfield makes a lot of sense," farm director Mike Bell said. "He has enough in his bat to do that. He was fine with it, and he's put in a ton of work out there."

Borchering, the 14th overall pick of the 2009 draft, hit .267/.332/.469 with a career-high 24 home runs last season at high Class A Visalia. He also had 29 doubles and 92 RBIs while committing 27 errors.

With prospects Ryan Wheeler and Matt Davidson creating an embarrassment of riches at third base, the Diamondbacks moved Borchering, who was teammates with Davidson—a 2009 sandwich pick—in each of their first two-plus seasons. Borchering, 21, played 57 games at third base and 68 at first for Visalia, but the Diamondbacks believe they have their first baseman of the future in Paul Goldschmidt.

"He can focus in on his hitting, and I think (the move) will help his bat, too," Bell said. "Sometimes, when guys make that move, they can relax a little bit. There is a lot of charge in that bat. He has tremendous bat speed. He can really get his bat through the zone."

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Borchering has shown more bat speed and more raw power from the left side, where he hit 19 of his homers last season, but a cleaner stroke from the right side.

"He's a hard worker. He knows he has work to do, and he's gone after it," Bell said.

Snake Bites

• Low Class A South Bend manager Mark Haley was diagnosed with a ruptured bowel Dec. 24 and had surgery to have a portion of his bowel removed Dec. 29. He was to be taken off a ventilator and moved from intensive care at South Bend Memorial Hospital in mid-January, according to a report from his wife, Ann.

• The Diamondbacks signed first baseman Mike Jacobs in late December. Last summer, Jacobs became the first player to test positive for human growth hormone and will have to serve a 50-game suspension before playing in 2012.