Ex-Cub Tony Campana fitting in with Diamondbacks
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org March 1, 2013 4:57PM
Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Tony Campana walks past the last remains of Wednesday's snowfall after taking batting practice at Salt River Fields Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace) MARICOPA COUNTY OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES
MESA, Ariz. – Tony Campana never wanted to leave the Cubs. But not quite three weeks after he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the speedy fan-favorite outfielder has found the potential for a career rebirth with the D-backs.
That’s because, mostly, he found Brett Butler
``Picking his mind has been pretty unbelievable,’’ said Campana, who returned to Mesa for Friday’s Cactus League game between his new team and old team – to the welcoming shouts of Cub fans when he walked in from the bus. “It’s been pretty cool.”
Butler, the Diamondbacks’ Class AAA manager, was Campana – albeit, a better-hitting version – before Campana was born.
That better-hitting part is what has Campana so encouraged – that and the fact Butler sought him out when he got to D-backs camp.
``He’s the first person that said hello,’’ said Campana, who has worked closely with Butler since then. ``I widened out a little bit at the plate. I think it helps my bat control a little bit. So it feels pretty good.”
Butler, an undersized, slap-hitting speedster for the Braves, Indians, Dodgers and Mets (briefly), made a career out of bunting and slapping his way on base – recording 226 bunt hits and setting the major league record in 1992 with 72 infield hits.
``He’s the exact same,” said Campana, who had 21 infield hits and a team-leading 30 stolen bases in part-time play for the Cubs last year. “He said he’s watched me coming up. He was managing [AAA] Reno last year, so when I went down [to Iowa] I got to talk to him a little bit last year, in August.’’
Campana knows the Diamondbacks outfield is crowded as he tries to convince Kirk Gibson’s field staff to take him across down with the big club when camp opens.
But, he said, “I think if I go to AAA it wouldn’t be a terrible thing, just because Brett’s the manager down there. It would help me out a lot I think.”