Lombardozzi thrilled to get AFL invite

Harrisburg Senators second baseman Stephen Lombardozzi has picked up where he left off with Potomac, hitting above .300 in 19 games so far at the Double-A level.

This week, the talented young infielder got word he has been selected by the franchise to participate in the prestigious Arizona Fall League representing the Nationals.

"I found out a couple of days ago. I was really pumped," says Lombardozzi.

"I think it will be a great experience for me to go out there. I have never been out there and I have heard it is beautiful.

"You get to play against the best of the best and that is what I want. It will be a learning experience but it will be great to face all the best competition."

Lombardozzi was also pleased to hear that teammates like Michael Burgess were also invited and that his manager at Harrisburg, Randy Knorr, will also be the skipper in Arizona.

"That will be a lot of fun. I like Randy a lot. It has been fun playing for him the last couple of weeks. I am looking forward to playing with the other guys in our organization."

He says Harrisburg welcomed him with open arms and the team hasn't missed a beat since his arrival three weeks ago.

"The team has been awesome. The team has been really welcoming when I first got here. I have bonded really good. And the chemistry with the team was great. It has been nothing but fun since I got here."

So has there been any changes to his approach since his arrival in Double-A? His slugging percentage has jumped over 100 points since his first half in Potomac and he has 10 extra base hits in his first 19 games. He says he has emphasized getting the most out of each at bat, even if it doesn't result in a base hit.

"Nothing different. Really just kind of staying with my same approach," says Lombardozzi.

"I have been feeling good. I am seeing the ball really well. That is one of the big things for me. I look at every at bat, whether it is a quality at bat or not. I don't look at the outcome if it was a hit or not, just making sure I grind out the 'A-B' or make sure I hit the ball hard every time.

"My game plan stays the same. I learned in the Carolina League to adjust because it was a good pitching league. I have learned a lot this year with going up to the plate with a plan."

He has stayed in touch with the P-Nats, especially with the exploits of his good friend and former Potomac house mate Tyler Moore, who is closing in on Carolina League player of the year honors.

"It is awesome to watch. He has got a great work ethic. He was busting his butt at the beginning of the season. He was doing better than it showed in the stats because he was hitting the ball right at guys. It has been fun to see how his second half has gone."

Lombardozzi says this 45 day hot streak for Moore is not a flash in the pan. He feels Moore is going to be a big success in the organization because of the way he goes about his business each game.

"I got to play with him in Hagerstown. I have seen him play for a couple of years here. I really like him as a teammate and as a player. He has a great work ethic."

Lombardozzi knows a little bit about attention to detail and being meticulous with every part of his prepation each day, something that his manager at Potomac, Gary Cathcart, had noticed from the beginning.

He says this detail in his work comes from his parents, Jill and Steve. "My Dad was pretty much my coach growing up and really taught me about how to go about my business the right way."

And is there a player in the majors that he admires on the field? He says it is the Yankees Derek Jeter.

He knows that may sound like a stock answer, saying "I like him for the way he plays the game. I like to emulate him because it is not about him. He goes out there to do whatever it takes for the team. That's what I love about him and I try to do the same."

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