Trayvon Robinson didn't have to be in Tacoma today. He could be back in Albuquerque at his apartment trying to get the rest of his summer squared away since he would be moving here.
Robinson was in New Orleans on Sunday with the Dodgers' Triple A affiliate - the Albuquerque Isotopes - when he found out he'd been traded not once but twice (he explains in the video above), ultimately ending up the Mariners.
Since the Rainiers were going to be playing in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Robinson was given the opportunity to fly back there, clear his head, get packed up, and join his new team when it arrived in town.
But Robinson didn't want the days off. He didn't want to wait. He flew to Tacoma today from New Orleans and was on the field for batting practice for tonight's game. He'll start in center field and bat sixth.
"I wanted to get here and get comfortable," he said. "It was an option. But I was like fly me to Tacoma and let me comfortable with the team I'm with."
He has some familiarity with some of his new teammates. He was with Double A Chattanooga in the Southern League last season. He played against Alex Liddi, Carlos Peguero and Johan Limona the last few seasons.
Robinson will play center field tonight for the Rainiers. For the past two months, he's been playing most left field with the Isotopes.
"I feel a little comfortable in center field, but I still feel comfortable in left field," Robinson said. "I've been playing centerfield since I was 12 so I feel a little more comfortable there. But right it doesn't matter, I just want to play."
Robinson joins a team loaded with outfielders with Peguero, Limonta, Michael Saunders, Wily Mo Pena and Mike Wilson. Rainiers manager Daren Brown said Robinson will play center and left, and Pena will be pretty much a full-time DH. That still leaves five guys vying for three spots. Expect Limonta to see his playing time cut extensively and for Wilson to lose some at-bats.
I didn't think about situations that were out of my control. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm just going to go out and play hard every day."
Playing hard is something important to Robinson. He grew up in rough neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles and attended famed Crenshaw High School, where he was drafted in 2005 by the hometown Dodgers in the 10th round. A product of baseball's RBI program designed to help inner-city youth play baseball, he isn't about to take his game, his career or his success for granted.
"I think about that and try not to," he said. "I don't stay there anymore, but I like going back to LA because it (reminds) me of how lucky I am. I just want to be a motivator to little kids in South Central, who want to become football players, baseball players, basketball players or whatever."