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Yount sees Toros as new shot at displaying his skills

The Tucson Toros' Dustin Yount, (19) gets high fives as the team is introduced to family, fans and the media.

The Tucson Toros' Dustin Yount, (19) gets high fives as the team is introduced to family, fans and the media.

Tucson manager Tim Johnson jokingly knows what former Milwaukee Brewers teammate Robin Yount will do to his son, Dustin, if Dustin has any slump with the Toros this season.

“He’ll boot him in the behind,” said Johnson.

Dustin Yount won’t be able to match his father’s Hall of Fame career, but he hopes to use this season as a springboard to another major-league organization. The Scottsdale Chaparral High graduate was released by Baltimore in 2007, failing to get past Double-A in seven seasons.

He can play first base, left field or designated hitter for the Toros, who begin their first season next month at Hi Corbett Field as a member of the independent Golden Baseball League.

“This is great opportunity,” Dustin Yount said. “Hopefully, you can have someone notice you and give you a chance to play somewhere – and get back on track to the big leagues.”

Yount knows Johnson well, having played 91 games for him last season for the Lincoln (Neb.) Saltdogs, batting .309 with eight home runs and 69 RBIs.

“He has the great genes in him,” Johnson said. “He has power and can hit to all fields. He’s a good fielder.

“He’s a big-time leader. He adds a lot of respect to the game because his dad did it right.”

Yount, 26, grew up around the Milwaukee Brewers’ clubhouse. He was born a week after his dad’s team fell to St. Louis in the 1982 World Series – the elder Yount was AL MVP that season – and was there in 1999 when his father was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Johnson was the Brewers’ everyday shortstop in 1973 before an 18-year-old Robin Yount grabbed his spot the next year and went on to hit .285 in 19 seasons with 3,142 hits.

“I’ve known Timmy for a long time,” Dustin Yount said. “When he ended up coming here (Tucson), I knew I would like to play here.

“(Johnson) is a positive guy and he’s a lot of fun. He doesn’t let you get out of line.”

Dustin Yount was a ninth-round draft pick of the Orioles out of high school, but he never hit more than .271 in the minors. He spent the last two seasons playing independent baseball in Saint Joseph, Mo., and in Lincoln.

He wants to prove last year’s .309 batting average with Lincoln was no accident.

“I still love to play. I still feel like I can play and have the ability to go somewhere in this game,” Yount said. “It’s still hard to shut it down.”



• Chico (Calif.) at Tucson, 7 p.m. May 21, Hi Corbett Field

• Tickets: 325-1010



Seasons: 8

Batting average: .255

At-bats: 2,580

Hits: 657

Doubles: 137

Triples: 7

Home runs: 71

Runs batted in: 401

Strikeouts: 585

> Did you know? Yount wears No. 19, the same jersey number as his father, Hall of Famer Robin Yount.

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