Damon Haecker has played here, there, everywhere for Auburn this season
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's Damon Haecker is probably going to play right field against Georgia this week.
Or second base. Or third base. Or shortstop. Or left field.
"I just come to the field ready to play, whatever it is," Haecker says.
He's played all five positions this season, and, when last seen on a baseball field, was hitting a game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth to beat Florida A&M 3-2 on Tuesday night. Dramatic? It was his first homer of the season.
The versatile Haecker will be looking to help Auburn again in a three-game SEC series against Georgia that begins a day earlier that most, at 6 p.m. Thursday in Plainsman Park. The second game of the series is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday and the series will wrap up with a noon game Saturday. Auburn is 26-16 overall and 7-11 in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia is 21-20 overall an 6-11 in the mixed up league.
Haecker is an infielder by trade, and a second baseman at that. But coach Sunny Golloway wanted to get Melvin Gray into the lineup at second, so he asked Haecker to play in the outfield.
"He said, 'Coach, whatever you want me to do I'll do it,'" Golloway said.
Haecker said he made the move to "see how our lineup would shake up, just see what would be best for the team."
"It's been a good situation. We started winning some games, so it's been good for everybody."
Haecker, who is hitting .302 with his homer and 17 RBIs, said the move to the outfield has been smooth enough. He's been reliable, too, having started 97 of his 98 games at Auburn.
"You still show up and compete, no different than you do at any position," Haecker said
Haecker said he had more defensive responsibilities as an infielder because "I guess you could say I was the quarterback trying to direct people, making sure everybody was talking and doing that kind of stuff. In the outfield, you do less of that, so you focus on what you can do to help the team, whether it's offense or throwing somebody out."
Golloway said Haecker gives him plenty of versatility in filling out his lineup.
"It does, when in one weekend you can play him at second, short, third and right field, it gives us a lot of options," Golloway said. "He just brings a toughness to our lineup. I can hit him anywhere, from leadoff to probably ninth. He's swinging the hot bat again so I'll probably have him near the top of the lineup again to help set the table."
Golloway likes Haecker. He's a gamer.
"He's not the fastest guy in the world, he doesn't have the strongest arm, he doesn't have the best glove, he's not one of our strongest hitters, but he switch hits, he throws guys out at the plate from the outfield, he can steal a base because he's smart, he executes the hit-and-run and he can bunt. He's a baseball player."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine