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Former PK Yonge player makes MLB debut

Derrick Robinson decided to forgo a shot at college football when he graduated from PK Yonge Developmental Research school in Gainesville. Now he’s playing major league baseball.

The University of Florida offered him a scholarship to play cornerback on the football team  in 2006. Instead, he opted to enter the MLB draft and was picked up by the Kansas City Royals in the fourth round with the 107th overall pick.

He spent five years in the minor leagues, during which he led all Royals minor leaguers in steals for 2007 and 2008. In 2009, he led the Carolina League in steals with 69.

After being released by the Royals, he was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds organization.  An injury to Reds centerfielder Ryan Ludwick led to Robinson getting the nod from the big league club. Robinson said that he knew his work in the minors would eventually lead to some rewards.

Robinson got his first major league at-bat against the Washington Nationals. He didn’t collect a hit, but that would come two days later against Nats ace Stephen Strasburg.

Robinson has enjoyed his time in the minors. He said his time as a minor leaguer for Kansas City was very smooth and allowed him to hone his skills.

Coming up to the big leagues is a great achievement for Robinson, as it should be for any player. He said what made it interesting for him was the ability to see and play with many of the players he looked up to earlier in his career. He still believes he doesn’t let that excitement get in his way when its game time.

The transition from minor to major league baseball has been pretty seamless for Robinson. Even though he’s only spent about a week with the team, he said his new teammates have been very welcoming. Even the veterans, who sometimes can be rough on new guys, have made Robinson feel very comfortable.

Robinson could be spending a good amount of time with his new teammates. Doctors have told Reds skipper Dusty Baker that Ludwick could be out for three months or more. There are a few other players competing to get a slice of the playing time opened up by Ludwick’s absence as well.

If Robinson plays well, he may be able to stay with this squad even after Ludwick recovers.

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