Tucson Padres: Robertson happy he's on a field, not at desk

2013-04-18T00:00:00Z Tucson Padres: Robertson happy he's on a field, not at deskDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The way Daniel Robertson sees it, there are worse places to be than Triple-A baseball for a second straight year.

"I could be sitting behind a desk, making $9.50 an hour and watching old videos of myself playing," Robertson said. "I'd play here for 10 years as long as I don't have to sit behind a desk."

The 27-year-old outfielder has become the 2013 version of the unofficial "Mr. Tucson Padre." In other words, he's the member of this year's team who seems to have outperformed minor-league baseball but still finds himself playing at Kino Stadium rather than Yankee Stadium.

Robertson batted .302 over 129 games last season with 28 doubles, 70 runs scored, 38 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. He was the Padres' lone all-star selection.

He's off to an even better start in 2013. Robertson, who went 1 for 3 in Wednesday's 10-7 win over Salt Lake, is batting .353 and has six multi-hit games in 13 contests.

"When you're thinking of your son growing up playing baseball, he's what you want your son to play like," Padres manager Pat Murphy said. "He cares, and he plays hard every night.

"He's a hard-nosed winner."

Here are three other things to know about Robertson.

1. He's short

The center fielder is listed at 5 feet 8 inches, and that may be an inch or two generous.

It's also a reason why Robertson is still in Triple-A and not in the big leagues

"If I was standing 6 feet or 6-2 with the exact same profile, I'd be in the big leagues," Robertson said. "And I may have been there for five years now. It's not an excuse. This is the hand I've been dealt with. All you can do is move forward."

Murphy swears Robertson will make it to the major leagues at some point, despite his small frame (he weighs 175 pounds). Murphy, the former college coach of Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (5-8, 165), is confident there is a place for players like Robertson.

"He'll get his chance in the big leagues; mark that down," Murphy said. "Because of his mentality, somebody is going to say, 'he may be short here or short there,' but at some point, they're going to say, 'I want him.'

"He doesn't profile tools-wise, but he profiles talent-wise."

2. He's annoying - in a good way

Murphy, the former Arizona State boss, coached against Robertson when he was at Oregon State.

The manager said Robertson is the type of player who you hate when he's in the other dugout and love when he's in your own.

"He doesn't care what people think," Murphy said. "He dances to his own tune in a way that's special."

The outfielder never passes up a chance to take an extra base and will speak up to opponents if he feels a teammate has been wronged. His at-bats are always long, and he's a pest when he gets on base.

"It's the only way I know how to play the game," Robertson said.

3. He isn't bitter

A Triple-A clubhouse isn't always the happiest place on earth. There are, undoubtedly, players who think they should be in the major leagues and are too good for the minors.

Robertson isn't one of them.

"If you want to be bitter or upset that you're short and not getting a shot, the game isn't going to give you anything," Robertson said. "I know it's not all about me. I'm just a puzzle piece in the Padres organization. Whether they feel like my piece fits is up to them. It's not my decision."

And as he already pointed out, he would take any baseball uniform over a desk job.

"As long as you have the uniform on, anything can happen," Robertson said. "You're just one call away. Something can happen, and they can feel you're needed up there, and what starts as replacement could turn into a 10-year career.

"You never know with this game."

Today

• What: Salt Lake at Padres

• When: 7:05 p.m.

• Radio: 1290-AM

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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