Outfielder Tony Campana swung one of several hot bats Thursday afternoon when the Arizona Diamondbacks hosted a Spring Training game versus the Oakland Athletics. The desert slugfest ended up an 8-8 draw after the teams decided to call it a day after nine innings, but not before Campana took full advantage of an opportunity to show the Diamondbacks that he belongs on a big league roster this season.
Batting in the leadoff spot and making a start in center field, Campana went 2-for-4, scored two runs and walked once, improving his overall preseason batting average to .250 in six game appearances. Opening Day roster spots are competitive for the men in Sedona Red, especially since Cody Ross has received the all-clear to resume playing after undergoing reconstructive hip surgery last August.
The Diamondbacks acquired Campana from the Chicago Cubs before the start of last season, and he has so far spent most of his time with the club’s triple-A affiliate in Reno. He did appear in 29 games for the Diamondbacks last season and batted 12-for-46 overall. During his time in Reno, Campana batted .293, drove in 29 runs and stole 32 bases.
His biggest strength is his speed on the base paths, and therefore he could easily be utilized as a pinch runner if there isn’t room for him in the starting lineup. The 28-year-old Ohio native and University of Cincinnati alumnus also overcame Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as a child on his road to playing professional baseball. He bats and throws left-handed.
If Campana keeps repeating the stellar Spring Training performance he turned in today both at the plate and around the base paths, it won’t even be an option for the Diamondbacks to assign to the minors for another season.