Filed Under:

A Minor Leaguer's Life: Bats, Games And A Nickname

Tyler Saladino plays baseball in the minor leagues in Birmingham, Ala. A prospect in the Chicago White Sox system, he was sent to the AA Birmingham Barons after spending part of spring training with the major league club.

And when he arrived in Alabama, Saladino's first task was to find a place to live, as he tells Morning Edition's David Greene. He settled on sharing an apartment.

"There's three other teammates living here right now," he says. "We're all splitting the cost of everything. I think it's $881 for the month, and we're splitting that four ways. So it's actually working out pretty well for us."

An infielder who plays mostly at shortstop, Saladino's goal is to reach the majors. To help him get there, Barons hitting instructor Brandon Moore tutors him in getting the barrel of the bat through the inside part of the plate, to cover more of the strike zone.

"Once you start getting the barrel to that inside pitch," Moore says, "because you backspin the ball better than anybody I got, when you're on — you're going to see doubles and triples in that left-center-field gap."

Many in the Chicago organization think Saladino will make it to the majors; Moore is one of them.

"He asks good questions for a young ballplayer — which is always fun," Moore says. "The guys that, in my experience, ask the right questions, at his age, usually do pretty good."

NPR's Southern Bureau Chief Russell Lewis, who has attended some of Saladino's games — and is an admitted Barons fan — says the fans and players seem to like the rangy player who always seems to have a smile on his face.

And while many of his teammates call Saladino "Sally," some fans have given him a different nickname: Salad.

"Let's go, Salad!" yelled one fan at a recent game.

In that game, Saladino hit a run-scoring single. The next night, he nabbed a liner behind second base to make a nice defensive play, spinning to throw the runner out at first.

With plays like that, Saladino hopes to make his case for being in the majors. And if it he makes it there, perhaps he can pick his own nickname.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Study Of Gods And Human Nature In 'Tiberius'

Under Tiberius is a new novel about deceit and crime. The main character is the man who came to be known as Jesus Christ. NPR's Scott Simon talks to author Nick Tosches.
NPR

At The Purple Pie Place, Where The Crusts Are Just Sweet Enough

Bobkat's Purple Pie Place is a fixture in Custer, S.D. From chicken pot pie to strawberry rhubarb, Trevor Yehlie and his family have been baking and serving pies at the local favorite since 2009.
NPR

SuperPac Filings, Candidates' Forums: The Week In Politics

Hillary Clinton released her medical report, her tax returns, and a cache of unseen emails on Friday. NPR's Scott Simon talks politics with senior editor Ron Elving.
NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.