Michael Hollimon knew he would play in the playoffs this year.
But as an infielder for the Double-A Erie, he had no idea he would play for the Mud Hens in the International League playoffs. Yet here he was, starting at shortstop for Toledo after the parent Tigers recalled several key offensive players late this season.
"When they present an opportunity to you, it's all about how you respond to it," Hollimon said. "All I can do is put my nose to the grindstone and work as hard as I can. It's been an exciting year."
Hollimon was a key player for the SeaWolves squad that won the Eastern League's Southern Division title. In 127 games Hollimon hit .282 with 14 home runs and 76 RBIs.
His 91 runs scored tied for second-best in the Eastern League, and he ranked third with eight triples. Both were reasons Hollimon was voted the league's postseason all-star team.
It was an impressive season for Hollimon, made even more impressive by the fact that the 25-year-old Hollimon is in just his second full professional season.
And Hollimon is dealing with a position change in Toledo. Originally drafted as a shortstop, Hollimon spent most of this season as a second baseman.
"I switched in instructional league, so I had an idea I'd start [this] year at second base," Hollimon said. "It's a different look. It's still a ground ball, but the angles are different.
"My entire life I've been a shortstop, but when I moved back there it felt completely different. It took me a couple of days to adjust."
Last night Hollimon went 1-for-4 with a third-inning single. For the series he was 3-for-10 with three walks and an RBI.
"I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win - that's the name of the game up here," Hollimon said.
PLAYOFF REPORT: The Hens were one of four Detroit farm teams in the playoffs this year.
Double-A Erie is facing Akron, Cleveland's farm team, in the Eastern League playoffs. Former Indian Jeremy Sowers pitched the Aeros to a win last night to give Akron a 2-1 series lead.
Single-A West Michigan already has advanced to the semifinals of the Midwest League playoffs, sweeping a pair of games from Lansing.
And Short-Season Oneonta of the New York-Penn League also is in the semifinals of its league playoffs. The O-Tigers will face Auburn, N.Y., in a best-of-three series that starts tomorrow.
RAIN, RAIN: A light rain began to fall at the start of the fourth inning, then increased in intensity until it forced a 26-minute delay in the bottom of the fourth. In the eighth the two teams sat out a 61-minute rain delay.