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JETHAWKS NOTEBOOK: FOR FIRLIT, NOTHING TO LAUGH AT CHICAGO SHORTSTOP GETS SURPRISE CALL TO JOIN JETHAWKS IMMEDIATELY.



Byline: Gideon Rubin Staff Writer

SAN JOSE San Jose, city, United States
San Jose (sănəzā`, săn hōzā`), city (1990 pop. 782,248), seat of Santa Clara co., W central Calif.; founded 1777, inc. 1850.
 - At first, Dan Firlit thought it was a cruel joke.

While having dinner with his girlfriend at a Chicago restaurant Monday night, he received a phone call from his manager on the Independent Cook County (Ill.) Cheetahs, who told him he'd been signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks This article is about the baseball team. For other uses, see Diamondback.
The Arizona Diamondbacks (also referred to as the D-backs) are a Major League Baseball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They play in the West Division of the National League.
 and was due to report to the JetHawks in San Jose the next day.

Firlit wasn't in the mood to be teased. Not after coming off a frustrating 2001 season in which he missed most of the year with a broken foot and was eventually released by the St. Louis Cardinals For the National Football League team that played in St. Louis from 1960 to 1987, see .
The St. Louis Cardinals (also referred to as "the Cards" or "the Redbirds") are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri.
, for whom he'd played parts of two seasons.

A Chicago-area native, he was playing independent ball for a local Frontier League The Frontier League, based in Troy, Illinois, is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Midwestern United States and Western Pennsylvania. It operates mostly in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either.  team with the hopes of getting back into organized ball, but he wasn't expecting a call this late in the season.

``I told him he was full of it and he was like, 'No, you're flying out tomorrow,' '' Firlit said.

Firlit knew his manager wasn't kidding when he got another phone call from Diamondbacks farm director Tommy Jones Tommy Jones is an American professional bowler currently on the Denny's PBA Tour (Professional Bowlers Association).

Born on November 2, 1978, Jones is a current resident of Simpsonville, South Carolina. Jones, a right-handed cranker, is one of the "hottest" pros on the tour today.
 later in the evening confirming the move.

He joined the team just before Tuesday night's 10-9 victory over the San Jose Giants The San Jose Giants are a minor league baseball team in San Jose, California, USA. They are a "high-A" class team in the Northern Division of the California League, and have been a farm team of the San Francisco Giants since 1988. , but he did not play.

He's expected to share the starting shortstop job with Erick Macha.

``I'm kind of shocked just to be here. It's all happened so fast, I haven't even slowed down yet,'' Firlit said. ``I'm excited, but it's kind of weird. I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)

"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party.
 anybody here yet.''

Firlit was batting .261 (59 for 226) with three homers and 26 RBI RBI
abbr. Baseball
runs batted in

Noun 1. rbi - a run that is the result of the batter's performance; "he had more than 100 rbi last season"
run batted in
 at Cook County. Last season, he hit .210 (22 for 105) at Single-A Peoria (Ill.) in the Midwest League The Midwest League is a Class A minor league baseball league which operates in the Midwestern United States. History
Six teams – the Belleville Stags, the Centralia Cubs, the Marion Indians, the Mattoon Indians, the Mount Vernon Braves, and the West Frankfort
.

Firlit replaces 17-year-old Joandry Berroa, the JetHawks' everyday shortstop since late April, who was sent to Yakima (Wash.) in the short- season Northwest League The Northwest League is a class A minor league. The league is the descendant of the Western International League which ran as a class B league from 1937-1951 (with time out for WWII) and class A from 1952-1954.  to be developed as a second baseman second baseman
n. Baseball
The infielder who is positioned near and to the first-base side of second base.

Noun 1. second baseman - (baseball) the person who plays second base
second sacker
.

Berroa will play alongside former JetHawks shortstop Jerry Gil Jerry Bienbenido Gil (born October 14, 1982 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic) is a Major League Baseball player in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Gil made his MLB debut in 2004 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  at Yakima in what could be Lancaster's double-play combination of the future.

Berroa batted .231 (58 for 251) and committed 26 errors in 85 games, but his outstanding range and composure at the advanced Class-A level considering his age impressed many.

``He had a great year for us, especially for a 17-year-old,'' JetHawks manager Bill Plummer said. ``He really solidified our defense up the middle and he got some big hits for us. He played outstanding. It's fun to watch a kid like that come out and have such good instincts.''

His biggest hit came in his final at-bat as a JetHawk on Sunday in a 10-inning 10-9 victory over the Bakersfield Blaze, when he drove in the tying run in the bottom of the 10th inning with a two-out double down the right-field line on an 0-2 count.

--Learning to win: It was just more than a week ago that Plummer told his players in a pep talk that learning how to win would be the difference between being a .500-caliber team and a playoff-caliber team.

The JetHawks have won five of six games since the meeting, including several wild but not especially pretty victories.

In Tuesday night's game, they barely managed to hang on after entering the ninth inning with a 10-3 lead. The Giants scored six runs off JetHawks reliever Matt Henrie and had the potential tying run in scoring position when closer Brandon Medders struck out Dan Trumble to end the game for his 10th save.

``If we're going to have any chance (of making the playoffs), we're going to have to win games like this,'' Plummer said. ``We're a much better club now. We're learning how to handle pressure and handle different situations.''

Plummer said a key part of learning how to win is not letting up, as Lancaster did on Tuesday, scoring in each of the last three innings to extend a 4-2 lead.

``You never know when a club is going to come back on you,'' Plummer said. ``You give them a couple of breaks and all of a sudden, boom, they're right back in the ballgame.''

--Day to day: JetHawks pitcher Bill White lasted just one inning in his Tuesday start after being struck on his left (pitching) wrist by a hard-hit bouncer.

Despite a bruise and some swelling, White is not expected to miss his next turn in the rotation when Lancaster plays host to Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday.

--Best Tools: Catcher Craig Ansman and second baseman Andy Green were recognized as the league's best defensive prospects at their respective positions by Baseball America in its annual ``Best Tools'' report. The selections were voted on by the league's managers.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1) BILL WHITE

(2) CARLTON WELLS
COPYRIGHT 2002 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 8, 2002
Words:787
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