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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Greg Lonigro, Future Expansion - 20

Reds minor leaguer Greg Lonigro looked ahead a couple years in 1991, according to The Pittsburgh Press.

A Pittsburgh-area native, Lonigro remained in AA in his seventh pro season. If he didn't make it to the bigs before then, the 1993 season held some extra promise, he told The Press.

"A lot of guys in my position are waiting for expansion because of the domino effect," Lonigro told The Press. "It's going to be a plus for guys who are on the borderline as far as age."

Lonigro stuck around for a couple more seasons. He never made the bigs. Expansion, though, did hold the key to his future.

Soon after his playing career ended, Lonigro turned scout and joined the expansion Diamondbacks. In 2005, he scouted Justin Upton, providing the information that allowed Arizona to take him first overall.

Lonigro's career began in 1986, taken by the Reds in the first round of the June secondary draft out of Florida College.

Lonigro started with the Reds at rookie Billings. He hit .274 in 53 games. He moved to single-A Cedar Rapids for 1987 and 1988.

He hit his first professional home run in a May 1987 game for Cedar Rapids. "It was an 0-2 fastball right down the middle," Lonigro told The Cedar Rapids Gazette afterward.

Lonigro made AA Chattanooga in 1989, splitting time with Cedar Rapids. He hit .221 between them, with five home runs.

He played the next two seasons exclusively at Chattanooga. He hit .256 and .261. He then moved to the White Sox and AA Birmingham in 1992.

He played 1993 with the Cubs, getting his first and only look at AAA with 43 games at Iowa. He hit .254 there, playing the remainder of the year at AA Orlando, ending his playing career.

By 1996, he was with the Diamondbacks as a scout. In 2001, he made a brief turn as manager at short-season Yakima. He continues with the Diamondbacks in 2017 as a cross-checker.

In 2005, Lonigro scouted Upton. He watched each game of Upton's senior season in high school, according to The Detroit Free Press.

"It never fazed him one bit," Lonigro told The Free Press in 2016. "You could just see it with the way he walked off the bus. He just knew he had that inner confidence that, 'Hey, I'm going to be pretty good one day.' And sure enough, that's how he's turning out."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,713
Made the Majors:1,035-38.2%
Never Made Majors:1,678-61.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 427
10+ Seasons in the Minors:263

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