Nobody wants to sit the bench if given a choice, but for Alex Arrayan, it gives him the opportunity as a first-year player to observe his fellow teammates and learn as much as possible.
Arrayan has played sparingly for the Minot Vistas American Legion baseball team this summer, appearing in six games. Most of his time has been spent on the mound as a relief pitcher, but he's also seen time in right field. But playing time is hard to come by in a loaded outfield.
"We have a pretty crowded outfield out there right now," Minot coach Todd Larson said. "We have Chandler Jacob, Alex Mack, Hunter Duttenhefer who are all playing well in the outfield. Trever Ringoen is an outfielder. Alex right now is biding his time on the bench. We've had him out in relief a couple times, had some success.
Minot’s Alex Arrayan is in his first year with the Vistas. His primary role is as a relief pitcher, but he’s spent time in right field as well.
"If he keeps putting in the time, he's going to see a lot of playing time, if not this summer, definitely next summer."
Arrayan has embraced the role-player position. Whether it's recording outs on the mound or moving runners over during at-bats, Arrayan's willing to do what he has to for the team.
"I just like being part of the team, being able to help out with anything," Arrayan said. "Being a good teammate. I like watching all the guys play. I'm going to pick up as much as I can by watching baseball every day."
Arryan collected his first hit with the Vistas in his most recent at-bat Tuesday at Devils Lake. He laced an 0-2 pitch up the middle for a two-run single in the top of the fourth. Arrayan has reached base six other times - hit by three pitches, reached on two errors and walked once - and scored three times.
"First-year players sit typically, not sit all the time, but be kind of a role player for us and that's the way it should be," Larson said. "Hopefully he's learning from our other outfielders. Hopefully he's learning by watching the different pitchers. Offensively, during pregame batting practice he's always working hard."
He's making his presence felt as a relief pitcher. Arrayan has appeared in six games on the hill this season, tossing 7 2/3 innings. He's allowed six runs on nine hits, walking nine and striking out three. Arryan is 2-1 on the mound with a 5.478 ERA.
"(His role is) going to be as a relief pitcher for us," Larson said. "He can get up multiple times during the week. Very headsy kid. He's played up with my son all the way through the ranks. I've seen and known Alex for a long time and it's a lot of run having him with me finally."
Arrayan is eager for what the future has in store for him as a member of the Vistas, but for now the focus is on getting better.
"Improve on everything I guess," Arrayan said. "Everything can be improved at my age, at my level."
Mike Kraft covers the Minot Vistas and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.