In some ways, it is like Trayvon Robinson never left Albuquerque. Yet even though he may be in a familiar place, Robinson is still seeking to return to the form that once made him one of the Isotopes’ top players.
The outfielder spent the previous two seasons with the Mariners and Orioles organizations. He was traded by the Dodgers to Seattle in 2011. Though Robinson logged some big-league time that year and again in 2012, he was eventually traded to Baltimore and spent all of 2013 in the minors.
So far Robinson is his usual gregarious self off the field, but he has yet to find his comfort zone in the batter’s box. Robinson is hitting just .220/.244/.329 with two home runs and seven RBI. He has 26 strikeouts in 82 at-bats.
“I’ve gotten off to a slow start,” Robinson said. “I’m fighting myself right now. As far as defensive-wise, yeah, deja vu. But I mean, once I settle in, forget about what happened the last couple years, quit pressing and move forward.”
The switch-hitting outfielder ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 10 prospect in 2011. He hit well (.293/.375/.563, 26 HR, 71 RBI) with the Isotopes before being sent away in a three-team deal that brought right-hander Stephen Fife and catcher Tim Federowicz to Albuquerque.
While the Dodgers have certainly won that trade now, something Robinson acknowledged with a laugh, the fact the organization was willing to give him another chance came as a surprise. The Dodgers are loaded in outfielders at both the big-league and minor-league levels. Still, Robinson could not be happier to be back with his hometown organization.
“It’s beautiful, it’s awesome,” he said. “What I’ve learned from the past couple of years and how I was treated … the only thing that was on my mind was I’ve got to do good, do good, do good to not get released. I was fighting to not get released.
“These guys brought me back for a reason. They didn’t need me as far as outfielders. They didn’t need Trayvon. They liked Trayvon as a person and what he meant to the organization. Once I get that through my head then everything will be back to normal.”
Robinson has been able to get more consistent playing time of late, thanks in part to fellow outfielder Nick Buss have been designated for assignment by the Dodgers. While Buss awaits his fate, Robinson has become a regular again.
“I know that I’m not the priority that I was when I was here (before),” Robinson said. “I’ve just got to play my way back to where I was. I’m content, I’m all right. I did it in the big leagues, sat on the bench in the big leagues as a 23-year-old, 24-year-old. But you know how it is, you’ve got to play your way into the starting lineup.”
Robinson was happy to have his former Mariners teammate Chone Figgins on the roster for a short while. Like Robinson, Figgins is a switch hitter who has experienced his own fair share of ups and downs in recent years.
“I just think he’s a successful switch hitter,” Robinson said. “How many switch hitters have I crossed (paths with) that are successful? That actually understand things like you’re not going to be perfect? It’s harder than you think it is, but you have to keep it where you don’t lose your strength. Whatever you can do left-handed you can do left-handed. It’s going to be different than what you do right-handed.”
The Isotopes could not possibly get through the day without at least a couple of roster moves. The aforementioned Federowicz rejoined the roster and started at catcher against Fresno on Saturday.
To make room, right-hander Carlos Frias was transferred to the Ogden roster, a paper move since the Raptors do not play until June. Frias gave up seven runs, six earned, in five innings in his first start back on Wednesday.
Two more moves will likely wait until Sunday to be officially announced. Fife is reportedly in Miami to pitch for the Dodgers. A replacement for the Albuquerque roster will then be named.