SAN FRANCISCO – Christian Arroyo signed his contract, passed his physical, jetted to AT&T Park and wore a black and orange tie “completely on purpose.”
“I was in Men’s Wearhouse,” said the Giants’ first-round draft pick, “and I thought, `I’ve gotta impress the people.’”
One of those people was Buster Posey, whom Arroyo was scheduled to meet for the first time. And although the high school shortstop from the Tampa area didn’t mean it, he made everyone feel instantly old when he said, “I grew up as a Buster Posey fan.”
Posey was a college shortstop at Florida State who moved behind the plate, where his average speed wouldn’t be such a turnoff to scouts. Some scouts predicted that Arroyo could follow the same route, since he’s a pure hitter who doesn’t have blazing speed.
But Arroyo hasn’t worn a chest protector a day in his life, and he doesn’t necessarily want to follow in Posey’s cleat marks.
“People told me I wasn’t fast enough to play shortstop and didn’t have enough pop to play third,” said Arroyo, who was his class salutatorian and listed AP calculus as his favorite class. “I took it as, `I’ve got to get to work, because shortstop, that’s where I want to stay.’”
He did strength and agility drills, learned yoga, spent time in the swimming pool and even scheduled deep-tissue massages to improve his speed and range his senior year at Hernando High.
“I’m happy I made that choice,” he said. “I feel I’m the most natural at shortstop.”
That’s where he’ll play in the Arizona Rookie League in the coming days. Arroyo will travel back to Scottsdale and begin playing in games soon. He’ll stay there through instructional league in September, and likely begin next season at Low-A Augusta – a full-season affiliate.
The Giants send a lot of recent draftees to Salem-Keizer in the short-season Northwest League, but nearly all of those are college-aged players.
Until then, Arroyo is savoring the cool breeze and his new jersey – color coordinated with his tie, of course.
Right-hander Kyle Crick, the Giants’ top prospect, will start Friday for Single-A San Jose. He’s been out since April 18 with a strained oblique.
Left-hander Adalberto Mejia, a name you’re guaranteed to hear in the future, has been out since May 4 with a lat strain. He’ll return to start Saturday for San Jose.
And Eric Surkamp is making another start Thursday for the Single-A club as he continues to stretch out following a year of rehab from Tommy John surgery.