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Colorado Springs first baseman Matt Clark has game that might land him with Brewers soon

By: JOE PAISLEY joe.paisley@gazette.com
April 13, 2015 Updated: April 13, 2015 at 4:11 am
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photo - Sky Sox pitcher short stop Luis Sardinas (right) makes a catch to end the 6th inning as Sky Sox left fielder Bryan Petersen backs him up during a game against the Nashville Sounds on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at Security Service Field. The Sounds scored 9 runs in that inning. The Sky Sox lost to the Nashville Sounds 16-11. (JERILEE BENNETT/THE GAZETTE)
Sky Sox pitcher short stop Luis Sardinas (right) makes a catch to end the 6th inning as Sky Sox left fielder Bryan Petersen backs him up during a game against the Nashville Sounds on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at Security Service Field. The Sounds scored 9 runs in that inning. The Sky Sox lost to the Nashville Sounds 16-11. (JERILEE BENNETT/THE GAZETTE) 

Sky Sox fans may want to get out to Security Service Field soon, because first baseman Matt Clark's stay in Colorado Springs may not be long.

The veteran infielder opened his Triple-A stint by becoming only the 14th batter to homer in his first at-bat in a Sky Sox uniform. He is off to a good start by batting .278 with that homer and four RBIs.

Those include an RBI single in the fifth inning for a short-lived Sky Sox lead in Sunday's 16-11 loss to Nashville before 3,865 fans.

The 3-1 Sounds pulled ahead for good with back-to-back homers by Joey Wendle and former Sky Sox slugger Kent Matthes during a nine-run sixth. The teams combined for 10 home runs, for a total distance of 4,089 feet, including five by the Sky Sox (1-3). The record is 13 in 1988 vs. Phoenix at Spurgeon Field in Memorial Park.

Sky Sox manager Rick Sweet would not be surprised to see Clark move on to Milwaukee.

"There is no area where he needs to improve to move up," Sweet said. "He hits with power, draws walks and does everything a veteran hitter does. He is in his prime right now."

Clark, 28, is used to waiting after his first four seasons in the Padres organization. He made a bid to play in San Diego after a combined 50 home runs and 160 RBIs in his past two Triple-A seasons in Tucson.

But three general managers were hired over that span and they had their own player in mind. Each time, his chance at the bigs was pushed back.

The 2008 12th-round pick by the Padres played in Japan in 2013, where he hit 25 home runs. His performance garnered him a two-year contract renewal with the Chunichi Dragons.

But their new owner was not interested. In January, the security of a two-year deal was dashed when he was released.

"Suddenly I was scrambling to find a job," said Clark, whose father, Terry, pitched in the majors from 1988-97. "It is not a good feeling, but it's just how my career has gone. You just work hard and be ready for when your time comes."

He landed with the Brewers, who soon recognized his readiness to contribute.

"He is just a pure hitter," Sky Sox left-hander Brent Leach said. "I am happy the Brewers found a home for him."

He made his MLB debut Sept. 2, 2014 when he clubbed his first home run against the Miami Marlins. He appeared in 16 games with three home runs and seven RBIs in 27 at-bats.

He was one of the last sent down to the Sky Sox after spring training. He has a chance to be the 17th player to start at first base since Prince Fielder left Milwaukee in 2011.

"Sometimes it is just a personnel thing because there are so many elements to consider when putting together a team," Clark said. "I am confident in my ability to contribute and happy to do whatever they ask of me here."

That could be getting on a plane to Milwaukee, soon.

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