Hairston's time appears to have come
Outfielder likely to stick with big-league club this season
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It wouldn't be unreasonable for Scott Hairston to be focused on his own situation right now.After all, the left fielder is on the verge of making the Opening Day roster for the first time in his career. This comes on the heels of two seasons of battling bad breaks and a crowded big-league roster that trapped him for the most part at Triple-A despite the fact that everyone agreed he really had nothing left to prove there. But Hairston isn't thinking about himself. He's thinking about Carlos Quentin, Chris Young, Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson and Miguel Montero. "I played with a lot of guys in the Minor Leagues that are now on this club," Hairston said. "It was good to see some of the guys get a taste of the big leagues last year, and I'm excited to see how they all do this year." He was happy for them even though they got the opportunity quicker than he did last year. True, Hairston did get 101 big-league games in 2004, but he was miscast as a second baseman and sent back to Triple-A the following year to focus on playing left field. Hairston was called up briefly in June last year, but injured his shoulder in his first game, and he wound up going back to Tucson after he got healthy and wound up hitting .323 with 26 homers and 81 RBIs for a Tucson team that captured the Triple-A championship. "Last year, when we called him up midseason, he like the others who were dominating Triple-A I'm sure were wondering when they were going to get their big-league opportunity," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. "All he could talk about is how much he was enjoying [the Tucson] team and that group of guys and how much fun the winning was." The Tucson club stormed its way to the Pacific Coast League championship last season and then beat International League Toledo in a one-game playoff to determine the Triple-A championship. "It was the greatest experience I've had as a player," Hairston said. "We came to the ballpark every day expecting to win. Everyone had fun. There were no divisions in our group. We had guys that had big-league time, but we were all in it together. "That's what I enjoyed the most. Everybody treated each other with respect no matter who you were, and that was the great part about it. You didn't have to worry about making a mistake. It was a great environment. Winning the whole thing and achieving that goal was great. It made me a better person and a better player."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.