This off-season, the Baltimore Orioles sent their franchise shortstop Miguel Tejada, 31, to the Houstan Astros as they continue their rebuilding process and look to the future. In return for the former American League MVP, the Orioles acquired pitchers Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Dennis Sarfate, outfielder Luke Scott and 24 year-old third baseman Mike Costanzo.
Costanzo landed in Baltimore after an astonishing thirty-four day span that sent him from the Phillies to the Astros and, finally, the Orioles.
"The second trade was more of a shock. It was exciting for my family because I would be playing a little closer to home and the Orioles are in the rebuilding stages and I understand that they have big plans for me."
The trade from Houston to Baltimore probably was more of a shock to Costanzo because the Astros General Manager, Ed Wade, was the man that took a chance on the Coastal Carolina product in the second round of the 2005 draft. At the time, Wade was the General Manager of the Philadelphi Phillies and he gave Costanzo a chance to play in the organization he grew up rooting for.
Last season with the Double-A Reading Phillies, the left-handed hitter finished second in the Eastern League with 27 homeruns and third with 92 runs scored. En route to compiling those numbers, the slugging third baseman was selected as an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star.
In addition to playing his usual position, Costanzo will be filling in behind the plate during spring training.
"I'm a third baseman. They just want to see if I can do it in the case of an emergency situation. I can do it; I've caught bullpen before and little stuff here and there."
He expects to see time all over the diamond in his new organization.
"Probably some DH and first base. Whatever I've got to do to make the team in the spring I'm going to do."
Getting crucial plate appearances this spring could prove to be beneficial to Costanzo if he can improve upon his tendency to strike out often. Impressively, Costanzo managed to bat .270 with a .368 OBP last season, despite striking out every 3.23 at-bats.
"It's one thing to go out and give your hardest consistently, but you have to perform on top of that. I still have a bunch of stuff to work on and, defensively, I made great strides in the fall league. I want to come out every day and give that 110% effort and stay mentally focused for, hopefully, 162 games this year."
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