Recently acquired Potomac Cannons infielder Troy Cairns is a rare breed of professional athlete -- one who doesn't mind the dreaded "role player" tag.
"Not starting is something new to me," said Cairns. "But also a compliment because everyone can't do it."
His new manager, Edgar Caceres, is happy to have someone around who can play second base, third base and shortstop equally well.
"He hasn't gotten much playing time but anything we ask of the kid, he gives," said Caceres. "He knows how to put the ball into play to help the team . . . he's just waiting his turn."
Cairns had played in 13 games before last night's game against Lynchburg and in limited at-bats was hitting .172 with an RBI and two runs scored. The 6-foot, 180-pound natural third baseman was called up from less-advanced Class A Dayton when Cannons shortstop Hector Tiburcio was placed on the disabled list on May 7.
Since being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 46th round from the University of New Mexico in 2002, Cairns has steadily progressed through the Reds' farm system. After playing a season-and-a-half for the Billings Mustangs in the Pioneer Rookie League, Cairns had a busy 2003, playing with every other Reds affiliate above rookie ball besides Potomac.
"I traveled a lot last year, so when I got the call from Potomac I said to myself, 'Uh-oh here we go again,' " Cairns said. "But it's good to get to know and play with different players around the minors."
Cairns, who was born in St. Paul, Minn., is spending time near the nation's capital for the first time and is looking forward to an off day in order to see the sights.
But the 23-year-old realizes the time for that may be limited.
"I would like to stay with the Cannons," said Cairns, who can still pass for a high schooler in his home town of Blue Springs, Mo. "But if it calls for me to move on and do the little things somewhere else, that's fine because that is my role now."