Nearly seven years after being traded by the Mets, Victor Diaz still feels the adrenaline every time he plays in New York, even if it's at Bethpage Ballpark instead of Citi Field. But that adrenaline can only do so much for him nowadays.
No longer the once-promising prospect and budding star, Diaz looked every bit the aging veteran still hoping to make one more trip to the big leagues. The Bluefish first baseman went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Sunday as the Ducks beat Bridgeport, 4-3. That completed a three-game series in which Diaz went hitless.
"He's got raw power and he's still got ability, but a lot of that is misplaced," Bluefish manager Willie Upshaw said. "It's a factor of playing overseas, and a lot of it is a factor of not getting coaching while you're playing."
In the last game before the All-Star break, the Ducks took control early. They roughed up Bluefish lefty Miguel Martinez for four first-inning runs, and that was all they needed. Josh Barfield (solo shot) and Ramon Castro (three-run home run) both went deep in the first frame.
Once considered part of the future core by former Mets general manager Omar Minaya, alongside a 21-year-old Jose Reyes and 22-year-old David Wright, Diaz's professional career has been one of constant relocations.
Since leaving the Mets in 2006, he has spent time with the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles organizations, with stints in South Korea, Japan and Mexico.
"It's been a journey," the 32 year-old Diaz said. "I'm just trying to get back to the major leagues and my career. If I can be a fourth outfielder again or a pinch-hitter off the bench, I can do that."
But for Diaz, his time with the Bluefish has not been encouraging so far. Since joining the club in early June, he has struggled at the plate. He entered Sunday's game batting .186 with two home runs and 12 RBIs, and had struck out 37 times in 29 games.
Still, he is as motivated as ever. And Diaz is hoping to get another chance someday with the Mets.
"I love New York," Diaz said. "It makes me want to turn it on and see if I can get a shot to get back to Citi Field."