José Ortiz (second baseman)
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June 13, 1977 |
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
|September 15, 2000, for the Oakland Athletics|
(through 2008 season)
|Runs batted in||51|
|Career highlights and awards|
José Daniel Ortiz Flores is a former Major League Baseball second baseman. He has played all or part of three seasons in the majors, and is currently playing for the Saitama Seibu Lions of the Pacific League in Japan.
Early career and MLB debut
Ortiz was originally signed by the Oakland Athletics as an amateur free agent in 1994. After spending several seasons in the minors, he had a breakout season in 2000, winning the Pacific Coast League MVP while playing for the A's Triple-A farm club, the Sacramento River Cats. That earned him a September call-up to the majors, where he played in seven games for Oakland.
2001: Becoming a major league regular
The next season, Ortiz started the year in Oakland, but was returned to the minor leagues two weeks later after batting .179 in his first 11 games. After a second brief call-up in May Ortiz was traded to the Colorado Rockies on July 25 as part of a package that brought Jermaine Dye to Oakland. Ortiz was installed as the Rockies starting second baseman, replacing Todd Walker (who had been traded to the Cincinnati Reds). Ortiz batted .255 the rest of the way, with 13 home runs in just 204 at bats in 53 games.
2002: Sophomore slump?
Ortiz opened the 2002 season as the Rockies' starter at second again, but his power numbers declined substantially. By mid-June, while he was hitting .244, Ortiz had just one home run through the same number of games (53) in which he'd hit 13 home runs the year before. Ortiz was sent down to the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox and was replaced at second by Brent Butler. After hitting .333 with 6 home runs in 26 minor league games, Ortiz was brought back up in September. He hit .281 in 12 games down the stretch, but failed to hit a home run the rest of the year.
Off to Japan
Ortiz was not offered a contract by the Rockies after the season, and rather than catch on with another major league club, Ortiz signed with the Orix BlueWave of the Japanese Pacific League. On March 28, 2003, Ortiz hit a home run in his first at bat in Japan, and on May 3 he hit for the cycle against the Seibu Lions. He finished 2003 with 33 home runs for the BlueWave, batting .255 and driving in 86 runs in 127 games.
Ortiz returned to the BlueWave for 2004, and he increased his batting average to .289. However, his power totals declined, as he dropped to 24 home runs in 128 games. After the season, the BlueWave merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes to become the Orix Buffaloes, and Ortiz was not retained for 2005 by the new team.
Independent ball and back to Japan
Without a team in Japan or the majors, Ortiz signed with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He played two seasons with Lancaster in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, Ortiz returned to Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines, where he batted .309 with 7 home runs in 67 games. He returned to the Marines in 2008, batting .288 with 11 home runs in 100 games. His contract was not renewed by the Marines, and so he started the season as a free agent. In May, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks came calling, needing a power bat in the lineup to protect aging left-handed slugger Nobuhiko Matsunaka.