Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 11, 2006

Florimon’s bat flourishing

BLUEFIELD — Bowen Field is a long way from the summer league fields of San Pedro in the Dominican Republic. But baseball is baseball, and Pedro Florimon Jr. knows how to play it.

The 19-year-old shortstop, in his first year in the Appalachian League, leads the circuit with a .463 batting average (19-for-41 in 12 games). He is also in the Appy League top five in walks, drawing a dozen free passes, and has struck out only six times this season.

That batting talent was on display as a teenager in his hometown of La Romano, which he described as a “medium-sized” town in the Central American nation.

“Somebody saw us playing in my town and took us to the Orioles to get a tryout,” Florimon said with the help of interpreter Giomar Guevara, a Bluefield coach. “Carlos Bernhardt signed me.” Bernhardt is the director of Latin American scouting for the Baltimore Orioles organization.

He remembers the date well: June 8, 2004.

Now, more than two years later, he said, things are going well. “I feel like I can play in the big leagues — not very soon, but in a couple of years, I guess.”

The hits came naturally for someone with a sharp eye for a pitched baseball, even though now they are being pitched in professional games.

Florimon said, “When I came here for the first time, after extended spring (training), I was concentrating and seeing the pitches good. So I’ve got confidence now. I’ve got confidence at the plate; I’m still swinging at good pitches.”

He is often called upon to provide clutch hits.

“When I get, like, a 2-2 count, I am able to concentrate more. With that kind of a pitch count, I kind of stay back, and try to hit the ball down the middle. That’s why I’m getting good hits — in good situations.”

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