JETHAWKS' STREAK WON'T SWAY BUTLER MANAGER SAYS DEVELOPMENT OF PLAYERS IS KEY DESPITE TEAM'S SURGE.
LANCASTER -- Don't expect development-oriented JetHawks manager Brett Butler to start changing just because his team is locked in a pennant race.
Butler -- who steadfastly maintained during his team's dreadful 7-17 start that his emphasis was on development, not winning - is sticking to his convictions with the team on course to go from worst to first.
``If I'm in the big leagues, I'm winning, if I'm in Triple-A, I'm winning, but in A-ball, even in Double-A, it's more about development to get them to the point where they learn how to do things that will make them successful,'' Butler said.
Some in player development circles believe emphasizing winning at the minor league levels -- even in A-ball - to be an integral aspect of development, a philosophy that comes in contrast to the notion that players need to be allowed to experience failure.
Butler said winning and development aren't mutually exclusive concepts, an assertion that's hard to argue with considering the JetHawks' stunning turnaround.
Lancaster (63-65, 31-27 second half) tied for last in the first half. But it led the South Division by 2(bul) games over second-place Lake Elsinore (64-63, 28-29) heading into Wednesday.
The JetHawks are also involved in a wild-card race, trailing High Desert (66-61, 27-30) by three games and Lake Elsinore by 1(bul).
``The reason I don't change my approach is because this is the type of situation you want to see the guys develop in, so it adds to it,'' Butler said.
Butler pointed to players who've excelled since going from the bench to starting roles in recent weeks after eight key players were lost to promotions or injuries.
First baseman/outfielder Javier Brito typifies those who've stepped up their game since moving into the starting lineup. Brito is batting .448 (30 for 67) with six homers and 21 RBI in August.
``It's a credit to those kids in that room,'' Butler said, pointing to the JetHawks clubhouse, ``and people who were called up to Double A. They're the ones who should get most of the credit.
Butler took note of new addition Mayobanex Santana's impact since joining the team Sunday.
Santana, who played with the JetHawks for parts of the 2003 and 2004 seasons, was assigned to Lancaster from short-season Yakima, where he was being trained to coach, because the JetHawks desperately needed infield help.
Santana, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Wednesday, has played in three games - two at shortstop and one at third. He is 3 for 9, including a two-run single in his first at-bat on Sunday in a 9-2 victory over High Desert in the first game of a doubleheader.
Santana hadn't played in nearly two years.
``We've got a guy who's 24 years old who's a coach down in Yakima, and he comes in the first game of a doubleheader yesterday and in his first at-bat he drives in two runs,'' Butler said. ``He's just a delight.''
Odds and ends: Eduardo Baeza was credited with his first JetHawks win in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Monday, when he allowed one run on one hit and two walks in an 11-7 victory over Lake Elsinore. ... Injured first baseman Cesar Nicolas (shoulder) was 1 for 4 with a double in Tuesday's 6-5 victory over the Storm, his first game back in nearly a week. ... JetHawks second baseman Emilio Bonifacio was 3 for 4 with a game-winning homer - a solo shot in the seventh 7/8 in Tuesday's game, and is 4 for 7 in two games since missing two games with a bruised hand after being struck by an errant pickoff attempt in Friday's 8-6 loss to High Desert.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Aug 24, 2006|
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