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No signs of rust

Blue Anchors outfielder Jordan Lee slides past Madison second baseman Robbie Tenerowicz on a stolen base attempt Monday evening at Knute Nelson Ballpark. Lee was called out on the close play, but he is off to a hot start at the plate for Alexandria in 2014. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Not often does a baseball player who is off to a .404 batting average at the start of a season feel the need to take some extra time in the cage to retool his swing.

But that is what Blue Anchors outfielder Jordan Lee was doing hours before the Blue Anchors home game Monday evening against Madison. He went 2-for-5 with two RBIs in a game the night before against the Mallards, but Lee still felt that something was off in his swing.

“I came out here really early, like five hours before the game, and took some extra batting practice,” Lee said. “Yesterday I felt all right, but my swing didn’t feel as good.”

The extra work paid off as Lee went 2-for-3 at the plate in the Blue Anchors’ 2-0 loss to the Mallards on Monday. Through 14 games this season, Lee is hitting .404 with 13 runs scored, eight RBIs and four home runs. He made it four straight two-hit games on Tuesday after going 2-for-4 in Alexandria’s 3-2 loss at St. Cloud.

“I’ve hit a couple of home runs,” Lee said. “I don’t really consider myself a power hitter, so that’s good.”

Blue Anchors manager Al Newman said Lee, who is listed at 5 feet 8 inches tall on the ball club’s website, can provide more power at the plate than most would think judging by his size.

“He’s aggressive at home plate. A lot of people take him for granted because of his stature,” Newman said, “but he does throw quite some thunder with that bat.”

Lee was a little delayed in getting to Alexandria compared to some of his teammates at the start of the season after he decided to take some time off to visit his family. His college season at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi ended on May 24, and Lee played his first game for the Blue Anchors on June 5.

“I didn’t see my family but twice that year so just trying to hang out at home, I was still swinging and things like that,” Lee said. “So I just came out here pretty late, I think a week and a half into the season, but I love the guys on the team so it’s been pretty fun now that I’ve been here.”

Lee has primarily played center field for the Blue Anchors this season, a switch from his usual position in left field at Corpus Christi. He has grasped this opportunity to show he has the versatility to play multiple positions in the outfield. He is also using his playing time with Alexandria to improve his approach at the plate.

“This season I want to use the gaps, hit for more power,” Lee said. “In college I’ve hit .300 every year, so I’m trying to show the scouts and everything that I can hit for power and continue to steal bases. Speed’s a big part of my game.”

As a native of Texas, there has been some unfamiliarity for Lee since he started playing with the Blue Anchors. The weather that many Minnesotans would consider summer-like has been a little chilly for the Texas native.

“The day I left Houston, it was 93 degrees at 9 o’clock in the morning,” Lee said. “The last couple of weeks, like in Duluth, it was like 50 degrees. So that was kind of a culture shock, but now that it’s starting to heat up, I’m starting to love it even more.”

Aside from the weather, Lee has enjoyed his time in Alexandria. He came to the Northwoods League after he had some friends play for teams in La Crosse, Mankato and Madison. So far, Lee has enjoyed the opportunity to see pitching from some of the best college players in the country.

“I just love playing every day and grinding, getting more [at-bats],” Lee said. “The fans at all these ballparks are great, so I’m just having a great time.”

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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