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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Javier Ortiz, Gained Confidence - 217

Originally published March 4, 2011
The Astros had lost several starters that off-season and, with 30 major league games already behind him, Javier Ortiz stood to benefit.

He was hoping for a more permanent role in the Astros offense.

"This is my best chance and I'm anxious to get on the field, get spring training out of the way and the season started," Ortiz told The Victoria Advocate in January 1991. "I'm in the same position as a lot of guys and playing for a month last year I think I gained some confidence and opened some eyes."

Ortiz did get into more games in 1991, he got into 47. But he wouldn't get into any more, his major league career ending after two seasons and 77 games. But he has continued in baseball, as an agent, working with such players as a late-career Jose Canseco.

Ortiz made the majors in 1990 seven years after his professional career began. Ortiz was selected by the Rangers as the fourth pick in the January 1983 draft.

"This is what I've been working for all my life," Ortiz told reporters after signing with the Rangers. "Fortunately, everything worked out for me and I'm ready to start a pro career."

He played his first season at single-A Burlington, then hit AA Tulsa in 1984. He made AAA for the first time in 1987, at Oklahoma City. He was traded that December to the Dodgers, for Scott May. He arrived in the Astros system in 1989, traded for Ed Vosberg.

Ortiz made his major league debut in June 1990, for the Astros. In 30 games, he hit .273 with a home run.

That home run came in a July 7-4 victory over the Phillies, and it came while borrowing somebody else's bat. Plenty of extra batting practice had exhausted his supply, he told reporters afterward.

"I've done well in the minors and I think it's time I got a chance to see what I can do here," Ortiz told reporters. "If I fail, I fail, but it's time to find out."

By the end of July, though, Ortiz' season was cut short. He injured his knee in a play at the plate and was put on the disabled list, The Los Angeles Times wrote. He didn't return on the year.

Coming back for his 47 games in 1991, Ortiz hit .277 with another home run. Ortiz played for three more seasons in the minors, going through the Pirates, Royals and White Sox organizations. He also had a stint with independent St. Paul before his playing days were done.

Ortiz went on to be an agent, working with the Jose and Ozzie Canseco with the short-lived South Florida Sports Council.

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