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Steve Lombardozzi (lombast02)

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Stephen Lombardozzi Jr.

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Steve Lombardozzi is the son of former second baseman Steve Lombardozzi and is the nephew of former minor league infielder Chris Lombardozzi.

A second baseman in his own right, he started his career with the Washington Nationals, after being selected in the 19th round of the 2008 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Paul Tinnell and made his pro debut that summer. In 2009, he hit .296 as the full-time second baseman for the Hagerstown Suns of the Class A South Atlantic League. He spent most of the 2010 season with the Carolina League's Potomac Nationals before being promoted to AA ball and playing for the Harrisburg Senators. He hit a combined .294/.371/.431 in 137 games, with 35 doubles and 11 triples while playing second base. In 2011, he spent the first half of the season with Harrisburg, hitting .309 in 65 games, then was promoted to AAA Syracuse, where he hit .310 in 69 games. Combined between the two levels, his batting line was .309/.360/.430, he scored 86 runs, hit 25 doubles and stole 30 bases. He was named the Nationals' Minor League Player of the Year.

Lombardozzi got his first taste of the majors in a September call-up by the Nationals in 2011. His first major league hit, a single off the New York Mets' R.A. Dickey in the 7th inning of a game at Citi Field on September 12th drove in Brian Bixler with the winning run in a 3-2 Nats win. He had started his major league career 0 for 15. He finished his first major league stint with a batting line of .194/.219/.226 in 13 games. In 2012, he spent the entire season in Washington, getting playing time at second base, third base and left field. He hit .273/.317/.354 in 126 games, with 3 homers and 26 RBIs. He was named the second baseman on the 2012 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, then went 1 for 3 in the Division Series where the Nats were upset by the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2013, he continued to split his time between second base and left field, getting an opportunity to replace Danny Espinosa as Washington's starter at second base, after Espinosa lost the job because of an excessive number of strikeouts. He played 118 games, getting 290 at-bats, and hit .259/.278/.338. While he didn't strike out much, he did not get on base either and his OPS+ of 69 indicated that he was more cut-out to be a utility player than a regular; indeed, top prospect Anthony Rendon was called up and moved from 3B to 2B, locking up the position for the second half of the season. On December 2nd, the Nationals sent Steve to the Detroit Tigers along with Ps Ian Krol and Robbie Ray, in return for P Doug Fister.

Lombardozzi was expecting to find a job as a utility player with the Tigers in 2014, but plans changed when projected SS José Iglesias was lost for the season during spring training. The Tigers needed another infielder with a decent bat who could play shortstop, a position at which had played only 2 games in the majors. Thus on March 24th, he was sent to the Baltimore Orioles in return for veteran Alex Gonzalez. The Orioles were solid at shortstop with J.J. Hardy, but needed a back-up at second and third base, following the departure of 2B Brian Roberts via free agency and injury issues with 3B Manny Machado.

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