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Sent on Mormon-News: 19Jul01

By Mark Wright

Christensen Gets New Start with Dodgers' AAA Affiliate

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- McKay Christensen's baseball career has taken a number of interesting turns over the years, both up and down. While not always under his control, Christensen knows that at least some of the rough spots have been the direct result of his own decisions. Take his two year hiatus to serve an LDS mission to Japan for example. Christensen knew that he would have a difficult time coming back but choose to go anyway, fulfilling a commitment that he felt most strongly. "I think there's no doubt that going on a mission for two years and then coming back was definitely something that has been a difficult obstacle in terms of baseball," he said.

Christensen, now 25, turned pro after graduating from Clovis West High School in Fresno, CA. and was the first pick of the Anaheim Angels in the MLB draft held in 1994 (sixth pick overall). Prior to the draft, Christensen decided to write letters to all of the professional baseball teams that were considering drafting him and told them that he wouldn't play pro ball until after he finished serving a mission. While he was serving in Tokyo, the Angels traded him to the White Sox organization and when he finished his mission he starting working his way through the White Sox farm system, eventually making his big league debut in 1998. Christensen ended up playing 28 games for the White Sox where he hit .226 with 10 runs scored, six RBIs and one home run. Last year Christensen was called up for 32 games, but had a disappointing stint when he had only 19 at bats with a .105 average.

Recently traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Chicago White Sox, Christensen hopes to finally make a lasting impact in MLB and become an everyday player in the big leagues. Even though he's currently playing in the minor leagues, Christensen was recognized as the defensive outfielder of the year in both 1999 and 2000 by Baseball America. He just feels that he never had a legitimate opportunity to prove himself because the White Sox had plenty of talent playing ahead of him already. "My situation was difficult." Christensen said. "Ray Durham has been their (the White Sox) leadoff guy forever. I think that whoever played center field, they just needed someone who hit deeper in the lineup. There wasn't a spot for me because of that."

While his talent and potential have been widely recognized, Christensen will definitely have to pick his game up a notch if he hopes to start playing for the Dodgers any time soon. Since being traded, Christensen has been playing for the Dodger's AAA affiliate, the 51s and hasn't performed the way he'd like. In his two most recent games against Sacramento and Oklahoma, Christensen was a combined 0-for-8.

While these numbers are not the stuff of major leaguers, Christensen believes it's only a matter of time. "Really, I don't have a whole lot of baseball experience," he said, "Right now, I would be considered 22 or 23 in terms of baseball." No matter what happens, you can be certain that Christensen will continue to play and hope for the best, knowing that he's got yet another opportunity to reach for his dream.


Christensen enjoys new start with 51s
Las Vegas NV Sun 17Jul01 S2
By Victoria Sun: Las Vegas Sun
Highly touted CF welcomes chance to prove skills


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