Biloxi Shuckers

Betancourt adjusts to new organization, position with Shuckers

TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD 
 Javier Betancourt of Biloxi Shuckers throws to first at MGM Park, Saturday, Apr. 2, 2016.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Javier Betancourt of Biloxi Shuckers throws to first at MGM Park, Saturday, Apr. 2, 2016.

While the newest members of the Biloxi Shuckers roster are all in an adjustment period to some degree, infielder Javier Betancourt is dealing with more changes than most.

As a rising prospect at second base, Betancourt was perfectly comfortable in the Detroit Tigers organization a year ago.

Fast forward six months later, Betancourt is no longer with the Tigers and he is dealing with a position change after the Milwaukee Brewers acquired him in a November trade that sent veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Tigers.

"It was kind of sad," Betancourt said of his initial response to being traded. "It was really nice with the Tigers. They're my family, brothers."

While the unexpected change in employer was difficult early on for Betancourt, the always upbeat Venezuelan is enjoying life so far in the Brewers organization.

"They treat me like a new member of the family," Betancourt said. "It's been a great experience. I thought it was going to be hard with a new team, but everything is great. I feel happy to be here."

Betancourt, who will turn 21 on Sunday, has seen the majority of his playing time at shortstop this season as he continues to adjust to Double-A with the Shuckers.

Betancourt has had no issues against Double-A pitching with a .288 batting average and 10 RBIs, but he's still in the adjustment phase at shortstop with a fielding percentage of .878.

Orlando Arcia left big shoes to fill at shortstop in Biloxi after he was named the Brewers' minor league player of the year last season while leading the team to the Southern League Championship Series. He batted .307 with eight homers, 37 doubles and 69 RBIs while playing impressive defense. He is now batting .313 at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

When Betancourt found out that he would be joining Arcia in the Brewers organization, he reached out to his fellow Venezuelan.

"I told him, 'Hey, I'm on your team so you have to take care me.' He said, 'OK,'" Betancourt said.

Betancourt has always been at his most comfortable while playing second base so he worked closely with Arcia over the spring to pick up the finer points of the position.

"I played a lot of second base with the Tigers," Betancourt said. "I said, 'Hey, Orlando, you have to teach me. You're a great shortstop.' I was practicing with him in spring training. It's great to have him in in the same position, same workout. That was great and he taught me a lot.

"I'm still learning because I have to feel comfortable in that position now. I'm pretty good at second. I thought I'd be playing second here, but now I've changed."

Betancourt is still adjusting to life on the opposite side of the infield.

"I have to be more aggressive," he said. "You have to move your feet a lot. Those are the things I've been working on."

Betancourt started the season hot at the plate with his batting average peaking at .340 last week. He credited the quick adjustment to Double-A pitching to some chances to his approach at the plate.

"I got new things from my hitting coach so I've been working hard," he said. "My approach, my stance, my hands. I've been changing everything. I want to get better numbers this year.

"It works. I just have to keep it up."

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