Monday, February 12, 2007

Mark Teahen Will Prove to be Natural in Outfield

Just because Kansas City's Mark Teahan has never played anywhere but the infield in five years as a pro, four years in college and three in varsity high school, it doesn't mean he can't switch to the outfield. Not only can he do it, there's reason to think he can excel.

Teahan, 25, who resides in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria, returns to the Royals camp in nearby Surprise from Florida this week to resume chasing deep flies. He'll need the practice when top-rated rookie Alex Gordon takes over third base, and Teahan moves to right.

It won't be official until sometime after camp, of course, but make no mistake about it. No later than June Teahen will move to right field and it's not because he's being punished. Teahen projects as a .300 hitter with 20-30 homer power, and the new, improved and soon-to-be dangerous Royals need him. Even though he has no experience in right, Teahen can be seen as the best man for the job because of his attitude, glove and arm.

"He's pretty much all baseball,'' says Jeff Stout, his former coach at Yucaipa High School on the fringe of the Los Angeles Basin. "You tell him to go out and play right field and he's not going to cry about it. He's going to go out and be the best right fielder you ever had."

Teahan was introduced to the left side of the infield as he led Yucaipa into the finals as shortstop in three successive years. Teahen more easily could have played the outfield, but as the most skilled defensive player on his high school team he was needed to play the most demanding position, shortstop, and subsequently he came up as an infielder, Stout said.

Not only will Teahen prove to be a versatile defensive player, he has the makings of being an outstanding offensive force. "I think he projects as a 3-hole hitter," Stout said.

He may never make it anywhere near Cooperstown, but it's not difficult to imagine Teahen following in the stellar footsteps of Hall of Fame shortstop-turned-outfielder Robin Yount.