Denorfia with the San Diego Padres
July 15, 1980 |
|September 7, 2005, for the Cincinnati Reds|
(through 2015 season)
|Runs batted in||196|
Christopher Anthony Denorfia (born July 15, 1980) is an American professional baseball outfielder who is currently a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs.
Denorfia was born in Bristol, Connecticut, and is of Italian descent. Growing up in Southington, Connecticut, Denorfia attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut. A self-described "late bloomer", Denorfia played second base before having a growth spurt his junior year at the age of 16. Denorfia later attended Division III Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where he earned a degree, double majoring in international relations and Hispanic studies. At Wheaton, Denorfia was converted from shortstop to the outfield, and hit .467 during his senior year, drawing the attention of major league scouts. Denorfia's .467 batting average, along with several other impressive statistics, broke school records at Wheaton. Denorfia was the Cincinnati Reds 19th round pick in the 2002 MLB draft.
Major League Baseball career
Denorfia first reached the Major Leagues with the Reds in 2005 in the September roster expansion. He also appeared in 49 games with Cincinnati in 2006, moving back and forth between the big league club and the Triple-A Louisville Bats. Denorfia had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in March 2007 after tearing a ligament during an exhibition game.
On April 27, 2007, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Marcus McBeth, Ben Jukich, and cash. He missed the entire 2007 season as a result of the surgery, but returned in 2008, making Oakland's Opening Day roster. Denorfia played center and left field before being placed on the disabled list with back tightness in early May. He rehabbed with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats and did not return to the Major League team until September. He finished the year batting .290 in 62 at-bats.
After Oakland's 2009 spring training camp, Denorfia was sent to Sacramento where he played 107 games across all three outfield positions. He appeared in only four games for the Major League club in mid-June and was moved off the 40-man roster at the end of the season.
San Diego Padres
On December 16, 2009, Denorfia signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres and received an invitation to spring training. Denorfia started 2010 in the Padres system, playing the outfield for the Triple-A Portland Beavers. He was called up on May 17 to replace the injured Scott Hairston. He pinch hit that same night, hitting a single. Denorfia remained with the big league club for the rest of the season, batting .271 with 9 home runs in 284 at-bats and starting 44 games in center field, 15 in left and 13 in right. On August 5, he hit an unusual inside-the-park home run in Dodger Stadium. The ball chopped off the dirt cut-out in front of the batter's box only four or five feet in front of Denorfia and then bounced out of the reach of the third baseman before being misplayed alongside the tarp down the left field line. SABR investigated the possibility that the play had set the record for least distance travelled through the air for a home run ball.
In December 2010, Denorfia and the Padres agreed on a one-year deal for the 2011 season. Denorfia started this season on the 25-man roster and played in a then-career-high 111 games for the big-league club. Denorfia strained his hamstring on July 31 and missed all of August on the DL and on rehab assignment. Denorfia made most of his 72 starts in right field and finished the season with a .277/.337/.381 batting line and 5 homers.
On December 12, 2011, Denorfia signed another one-year deal to avoid arbitration and began the 2012 season on the Padres 25-man roster. Denorfia and Will Venable formed a platoon in right field, with Denorfia starting against left-handed pitchers. Denorfia hit .337 for the year against lefties, versus .247 against righties. When not starting as part of the right field platoon, Denorfia made occasional starts in left and center and also had 33 at-bats as a pinch hitter. He appeared in 130 of the team's 2012 games, batting .293/.345/.451 with 8 homers.
On September 5, 2012, Denorfia signed an extension that will keep him in San Diego throughout the 2014 season.
With center-fielder Cameron Maybin absent for most of the 2013 season, Denorfia saw increased playing time, playing in a career-high 144 games. He made 51 starts in right field, 36 in center, and 14 in left. He was still used in a platoon role at times, and he hit for a .834 on-base plus slugging (OPS) against left-handers versus a .663 OPS against righties. For the season, he batted .279/.337/.395 with 10 home runs in 473 at-bats. Denorfia was chosen as the Padres' winner of the Heart & Hustle Award in September, and was also the Padres' recipient of the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award as he tied for 5th in the Major Leagues with 13 outfield assists.
Denorfia was the Padres Opening Day right fielder in 2014. He made 41 starts in right and 6 each in left and center before being traded. He batted .242 with 1 home run in 89 games for the Padres on the year.
Denorfia made 18 starts for the Mariners in right field and 3 in left. He collected 16 hits, including 2 home runs, in 82 at-bats over 32 games played.
Denorfia was expected to form a platoon with Chris Coghlan in left field, but hamstring injuries delayed his start to the season and then put him on the disabled list for a month in May and early June. When he returned, he made a number of starts in right field in place of the injured Jorge Soler during June, but was relegated to a defensive replacement role for much of the year. In a blow-out loss against the Detroit Tigers on August 19, Denorfia made his first career pitching appearance, pitching to one batter to close out the game. On September 28, in the Cubs final regular season home game of the year, Denorfia hit a game-winning pinch-hit home run in the 11th inning to beat the Kansas City Royals, 1-0. He became the first pinch hitter in Major League history to hit a walk-off home run for the only run of the game. Denorfia made a total of 21 starts in left, 20 in right, and 4 in center in 2015, appearing in 103 games overall. He batted .269/.319/.373 with 3 home runs in 212 at-bats.
New York Yankees
Denorfia signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees on March 2, 2016 that includes an opt-out clause for March 31, he was released on March 27.
San Francisco Giants
On June 9, 2016, Denorfia signed a minor league deal with the Giants and was assigned to their AAA affiliate. He was released on August 16, 2016.
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