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Cavazos-Galvez back in his comfort zone with Isotopes

Outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez has enjoyed returning to his hometown team.
Outfielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez has enjoyed returning to his hometown team.
Chris Jackson

Brian Cavazos-Galvez had quite the travel adventure Thursday. The Albuquerque native had to make the long trek home from Chattanooga in time to play for the Isotopes against the Reno Aces.

“It started with a two-hour cab ride from Chattanooga to Atlanta,” Cavazos-Galvez said. “Then I had to go through the Atlanta airport, which is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen. Then (even) with all the busses and trains, I made my flight, but it was close.”

Cavazos-Galvez did luck out in that it was a direct flight. His mother and cousin left his car at the Albuquerque Sunport for him to jump into and race over to the ballpark.

He arrived at the ballpark as the national anthem was being played and made it into the dugout by the second inning. Cavazos-Galvez made the most of his pinch-hitting appearance late in the game, rapping a single and scoring a run, though the Isotopes ended up losing 6-3 in 14 innings.

A graduate of Manzano High School and a former New Mexico Lobo, Cavazos-Galvez has always felt comfortable at Isotopes Park. He hit .354/.376/.567 with seven home runs and 32 RBI with the Isotopes in 2012, but found himself with the Lookouts for all of 2013.

“It’s just the little intangible stuff, knowing little things about this place,” he said. “It’s not a stressful environment for me.”

Cavazos-Galvez opened the year with the Isotopes, appearing in five games from April 4-10, all on the road. He was then caught up in a numbers crunch and sent back to Chattanooga, where he hit just .227/.261/.330 with two home runs and 20 RBI.

“I really started off slow,” Cavazos-Galvez said. “I’m just trying to get back in a rhythm. I felt better the last couple games in Chattanooga. Now that I’m up here I just want to keep it up. I feel like my confidence is better.”

Showing just how comfortable he is in Albuquerque, Cavazos-Galvez played the role of hero in the first game of a doubleheader Friday against Reno. Leading off the seventh and final inning of a 2-2 game, Cavazos-Galvez ripped a line-drive, walkoff home run into the Isotopes bullpen.

“I got good swings on the first two at-bats,” he said. “I had a lot of confidence going up there the last at-bat. I was surprised they left the left-hander (Joe Paterson) in. I got a pitch out over the plate, which is pretty much what (Michael Lee) did the first two at-bats.”

Manager Damon Berryhill, now in his second go-around with Cavazos-Galvez, saw the big night coming. The duo were together previously with rookie-level Ogden back in 2009.

“Galvy, he’s comfortable here, obviously,” Berryhill said. “But he’s also performed well here at the Triple-A level (before). It’s good to have him back on this club and right off the bat he’s contributing.

“I expect that from him. I’ve been with him since he signed. His effort has always been there. He always seems to come up with big hits at the right time. I’m glad to see him and I’m glad he’s gotten off to a good start.”

Cavazos-Galvez said having Berryhill back in the same dugout made his transition back to Triple-A an easy one. Cavazos-Galvez added a sacrifice fly in a 3-2 victory in the second game of the doubleheader as well.

“Oh, definitely,” Cavazos-Galvez said. “He was there for my introduction to pro ball. I got to play for him six years. I’ve played for him at the highest level I’ve been at so far and the lowest level I’ve been at so far.”

Cavazos-Galvez and the Isotopes will continue their series with the Aces on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. He will start in left field for the third straight game, batting fifth.