|Chris Shelton would like to be known for more than one incredible month|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 14 March 2008 00:04|
It was two years ago, when Shelton had nine home runs in the first 13 games of the season with 17 RBIs for the Detroit Tigers. He became only the fourth player to reach that mark so quickly and finished the opening month with a franchise-record 19 extra-base hits.
``That was something that was very special and I'm always excited to be known for that,'' said Shelton, now trying to make the roster of the Texas Rangers. ``If that's all I'll ever be, I'll be fine with that, but obviously I want it to be more than that just kind of a flash in the pan.''
Shelton seemed like a rising star and was considered the Tigers' first baseman of the future in April 2006. But he started to slump, eventually got sent back to the minors at the trading deadline and was replaced at first by Sean Casey. He started only four of 13 games after returning that September and hasn't played in the major leagues since.
After spending all last season in the minors, Shelton was traded to Texas for a minor league outfielder.
But the Rangers acquired Ben Broussard from Seattle to be their everyday first baseman. Shelton was cut, outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma and then brought to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
``I was excited to come over,'' Shelton said. ``I'd be lying if I said it wasn't disappointing when they designated me. I felt I could help this team.''
Rangers manager Ron Washington acknowledged that Shelton faces a difficult task making the roster this spring. Already behind Broussard were Frank Catalanotto, who played first at times last year, and Jason Botts. Plus, the Rangers planned to work Kevin Mench at first base some.
``We'll just see how it goes,'' Washington said.
In his first five games this spring, Shelton hit only .182 (2-for-11). But the 27-year-old still has time to make an impression.
``I want to go in there and play the best I can and hopefully put something in the back of Wash's head, hopefully to want to put me on the team,'' Shelton said. ``If not, play well and hopefully during the season get called up.''
Shelton has a .281 career average with 35 home runs in 249 games, all with Detroit from 2004-06. He hit .269 with 14 homers and 65 RBIs last season with Triple-A Toledo.
It's possible he raised too many unrealistic expectations with his unbelievable start in 2006 after hitting .299 with 18 homers in 107 games as a rookie in 2005.
``That's kind of a tough question to ask because you always want to play at a high level,'' he said. ``I would hope that people would take it for what it was, as a good month, just let me play consistently, not try and expect things like that.''
All he wants is a chance to play regularly again in the major leagues.