When infielder Brian Bien didn’t make a full season squad out of spring training, there was some disappointment as he was left behind in extended spring training in Surprise. However at the end of May, he found himself flying from Arizona to Lynchburg, Virginia to join High-A Wilmington on the road.
“Try to work your way out of there,” Bien said following last night’s game when talking about extended spring. “Whether it is a lot of early work or whatever. It’s a grind out there. It’s hot. I’m glad all that work paid off…”
Bien made one start on the road (Sunday in the second game of their doubleheader at Myrtle Beach) before getting the start at second base on Wednesday in the Blue Rocks series opener against first place Lynchburg.
Manager Jamie Quirk wanted to give switch-hitter Austin Bailey the night off against the scheduled lefty starter for the Hillcats because Bailey’s been struggling from the right side. However, the scheduled starter got sick while warming up, forcing them to turn to the bullpen and a right-handed reliever. Quirk decided to stick with Bien (a right-handed hitter), and it paid off.
“We’ve heard that he’s a scrappy guy and just a baseball player,” Quirk said after the game about Bien. “He did a nice job getting three RBIs for us and played a nice second base.”
Bien stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first in his Frawley Stadium debut with two in scoring position and two outs. He laced a single back up the middle to drive in two runs to give the Blue Rocks a 5-0 lead. In one at-bat, Bien collected his first hit and RBIs of the season.
“It definitely felt good to get that first hit, especially coming in a win like that,” Bien said after the game. “Being able to help my team out and get a big early lead, so that definitely helped to relax me and let me play my game.”
Speaking of being able to relax, did he have any nerves making his home debut?
“I did have a little extra nerves because it was my first home game with a new club. We had a nice crowd today [4037 paid attendance] compared to what we had down in Myrtle Beach [less than 3,000 for each game]. We had a lot of fans cheering for us, so that was definitely nice. I wanted to play well for them and play well for the team.”
A little back story on Bien:
- Bien was a 31st round draft pick (939th overall) last June by the KC Royals out of Bowling Green.
- A four year starter at shortstop for Bowling Green, he hit .320 over his career and ranked in the top ten upon leaving in several categories: at-bats (709, 3rd), hits (227, 6th), assists (585, 1st), and games played (198, 9th).
- Bien was sent to rookie level Burlington to begin his professional career, hitting .302 with four doubles, 23 runs scored, and 26 RBIs in 41 games. He moved up to Low-A Lexington at the end of the season (five games), hitting .421 (8-for-19) with a double and four runs scored.
- He reached base safely in 2015 in his final 19 starts (15 with Burlington and four with Lexington).
- With the Royals, he played 34 games at second base, five at shortstop, and one at third base. With the Legends, he played three games at shortstop and one at second base. Overall, Bien committed six errors (all at Burlington, with five coming at second base and one at third base).
You can watch the entire interview below: