Simply Baseball Notebook straight from the source April 2002

 OUT OF NOWHERE: DUSTAN MOHR

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At this time a year ago the major leagues seemed like a far off fantasyland to Dustan Mohr.  A lot can happen in a year.  Right now Mohr is tearing the cover off the ball in spring training, playing all three outfield positions, and cementing his place on the Minnesota Twins roster.  So much for the far off fantasyland.

 

The Mississippi native was originally drafted by Cleveland in the ninth round in 1997.  After hitting .280 at in A ball and .167 in AA in the Indians organization, Mohr decided he did not fit into their plans and asked for his release during spring training 2000.  The Indians granted his wish.

 

"It was a situation where they could afford to get rid of some outfielders," he said. " I went in and talked to the player development director and we made an agreement that he would release me and give me a chance to catch on somewhere else."

 

He didn't have to wait long for a chance.  Twins GM quickly called Mohr and assigned him to Class A Fort Myers for the 2000 season.  Mohr responded by hitting .265 with 11 HR and 75 RBI for the Miracle.  Solid, but hardly eye opening numbers.

 

After off-season back surgery to repair a herniated disk, Mohr reported to spring training stronger than ever.  He responded with a monster season at AA New Britain hitting .336 with 24 HR and 91 RBI in 135 games.  This caught the attention of the Twins brass.

 

"I had a whole new mental approach," Mohr said of his breakout season.  "Earlier in my career I was worried about things that were not in my control and that added a lot of unnecessary stress."

 

Mohr's play earned him a shot in the big leagues, "It was a pleasant surprise," he said of his call up, "I didn't expect it, I was totally caught off guard."

 

On August 29, 2001 a dream came true for Dustan Mohr.  He made his major league debut.  Mohr's first night in the bigs was a memorable one; he went 1 for 3 with a sacrifice fly and made a highlight reel diving catch in right field.  That, however, was the highlight of Mohr's trial run in the majors.

 

"I had a pretty good game on my first night," he said, "then after that I started trying to do more than I was capable of."

 

Life in the major leagues as a rookie has its down side, namely the hazing. "I had to wear a dress on the plane from Anaheim to Detroit,"  Mohr explained. "Guardado, Hocking, and (the veterans) tried to embarrass (the rookies) as much as possible."

 

After outplaying more highly regarded prospects like Bobby Kielty, Michael Cuddyer, and Michael Restovich, Dustan Mohr looks to be headed north with a big league club for the first time.  The 25-year-old outfielder seems primed to build on his success of 2001.

 

-David Zingler
 
- photo by Sebastian Vannavong

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Mohr's page @ Baseball-Almanac.com

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