Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, June 28, 2000

M A J O R _ L E A G U E _ B A S E B A L L

Major League logo

Patience pays
off for Damien
grad Truby

After seven-plus years in
the minors, the infielder from
Hawaii gets call from Astros

By Al Chase


Chris Truby had played the first game of a Pacific Coast League doubleheader for the New Orleans Zephyrs when the call came.

Houston's starting third baseman Ken Caminiti was injured and the Astros needed help.

Truby was pulled from the second game and sent home to get some sleep before boarding a morning flight to San Francisco on June 16.

"Sleep? There was no way I was going to sleep. I just got called up to the major leagues," Truby said. "I got maybe an hour's sleep on the plane and arrived at Pacific Bell Park about 3 p.m.

"Just sitting around before the game was awesome. When I went on the field in the first inning, that was probably the most nervous I've ever been in my life.

"After my first at- bat, it got better, but I was playing against Barry Bonds, one of the greatest players in the world."

After seven-plus seasons, 846 games, 3,120 at-bats, 841 hits and 97 home runs in the Houston minor league system, the Damien Memorial High School graduate had reached "The Show."

The Astros had included Truby on their 40-man winter roster the past two seasons, a sign they valued his contributions to the organization.

He was assigned to the Zephyrs in the third round of spring training cuts this year, but it wasn't a disappointing experience.

"I knew I wasn't going to make the team out of spring training," he said. "If you look at it, I've got Ken Caminiti, an all-star third baseman, ahead of me and he's been doing it year after year.

"I needed some kind of break or someone getting traded. I was kind of hoping when I got to New Orleans, that if someone got hurt and they needed an infielder, I would be the one.

"Now I've got my chance. That's all anyone can ask for, to be up here."

That break came when Caminiti suffered a ruptured tendon sheath in his right wrist that required surgery. He is expected to be out anywhere from eight to 12 weeks.

"I think if I play well, they aren't going to rush Camie back and have him hurt it again. Hopefully, I'll do well and they will want to keep me around for awhile.

If Caminiti takes the full 12 weeks to regain his playing shape, that would carry Truby into September when major-league rosters expand to 40 players.

Primarily a third baseman during his career, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Truby has played some shortstop and first base. The Astros have always liked his defense because he has excellent hands.

He isn't a true home run hitter like Caminiti, but Truby has hit 31 and 28 round-trippers the past two seasons. This is the result of his dedication to off-season weight training after the 1997 season. Before that he had hit just 36 homers in five minor-league campaigns.

"I'm not a straight power hitter, but I can surprise a lot of people. My game is to hit to the gaps," said Truby, 26.

"Right now, I'm in the best situation I could be in. Camie has talked about retirement. He has an option year on his contract. If the Astros pick it up, I might have to sit around for another year.

"But, the Astros have been really honest with me. Right now, it's a good opportunity.

"I've put in a lot of time and hard work and now it's paying off. Hopefully, I can convince them I can play.

"I'm not going to complain about anything."

He also is aware that a solid showing the remainder of the season could create interest elsewhere.

"There are 30 teams out there and there are spots open everywhere," he said.

Truby has at least one hit in seven of the eight games he has started for the Astros. He hit his first major-league home run last Friday in a 10-3 loss to San Francisco.

With Bill Spiers, Houston's other third baseman, nursing a pulled hamstring, Truby will be in the lineup on a regular basis for now.

Truby was going to play for Hawaii Pacific before the Astros discovered and signed him after the Area Code games in August 1992.

He is the 27th player with Hawaii ties to play in the major leagues.

Truby was hitting .284 with a team-leading 30 runs batted in when he was called up.

He joins Mark Johnson and Keith Luuloa in the class of 2000 from Hawaii who have gotten the call from their respective major-league teams.

"I was so pumped to see Keith get called up. We were teammates in Venezuela (winter ball) two years ago," Truby said.


(Through June 26)

Height: 6-2. Weight: 190. Throws: Right. Bats: Right. School: Damien.

Batting record

Year, Team, League G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI Avg.
1993-Astros, Gulf Coast 57 215 30 49 10 2 1 24 .228
1993-Osceola, Florida State 3 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1994-Quad City, Midwest 36 111 12 24 4 1 2 19 .216
1994-Auburn, New York-Penn 73 282 56 91 17 6 7 61 .323
1995-Quad City, Midwest 118 400 68 93 23 4 9 64 .233
1996-Quad City, Midwest 109 362 45 91 15 3 8 37 .251
1997-Quad City, Midwest 68 268 34 75 14 1 7 46 .280
1997-Kissimmee, Florida State 57 199 23 49 11 0 2 29 .246
1998-Kissimmee, Florida State 52 212 36 66 16 1 14 48 .311
1998-Jackson, Texas 80 308 46 89 20 5 16 63 .289
1998-New Orleans, Amer. Assoc. 5 17 6 7 1 1 1 1 .412
1999-Jackson, Texas 124 465 78 131 21 3 28 87 .282
2000-New Orleans, Amer. Assoc. 64 268 31 76 11 3 2 30 .284
2000-Houston, National 8 28 2 9 2 1 1 5 .321
Minor League totals 846 3,120 465 841 163 30 97 509 .270
Major League Totals 8 28 2 9 2 1 1 5 .321


Signed by the Houston Astros as a nondrafted free agent, Aug. 25, 1992.

Named the Most Valuable Player in the New York-Penn League in 1994.

Named the third baseman on the 1994 New York-Penn League All-Star Team.

Named to Baseball America's Short Season All-Star Team in 1994.

Named the Florida State League Hitter of the Week (April 20-26). He was 10-for-23 (.323) with 3 doubles, 4 home runs, 12 RBIs and an .806 slugging percentage in 7 games.

Made his major-league debut June 16, 2000 at San Francisco, going 1-for-4 with a triple and run scored.

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin