The way outfielder Chad Durham laughed and joked with his Potomac Cannons teammates after a 10-9 victory over Winston-Salem yesterday, one would never know he has been with the team for just 11 days.
Durham, 26, was a member of the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts two weeks ago. The trip back to Class A reminded him, again, of the transient nature of the game he loves.
Just as he was settling in Potomac, teammate Corey Thurman, who had shown him the ropes with his new team, was released by the Cannons (he has since been picked up by the Harrisburg Senators, a Class AA affiliate of the Montreal Expos). And Durham himself has played on nine teams since he was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1997 out of Surry Community College in North Carolina.
None of that deters Durham, who says his personality helps him get along with teammates everywhere.
"I'm an easygoing guy and I get along with everyone," Durham said. "You have to in this game, if you don't it will eat you alive."
Durham knows it all can pay off. His brother, Ray Durham -- seven years his elder -- is the San Francisco Giants' second baseman.
The brothers share the base-stealing skills that helped make Ray a two-time all-star. In 2001, the younger Durham played for the Winston-Salem Warthogs, the Class A affiliate of the White Sox. That year he led the Carolina League in stolen bases, a distinction he earned from 1999-2001 in three different leagues. He said he enjoys competing against the teams he once played for.
"It's always fun to go out and see how the younger guys have developed. It's always nicer to have a good game against guys you came up with," Durham joked.
In Chattanooga this season, Durham hit .255 and stole 16 bases over 73 games. In his last 10 games with the Cannons he's hitting .239 with one home run and seven RBI. While an obvious goal would be to join his brother in the big leagues, Durham, who had surgery last year after tearing ligaments in his left hand, just wants to stay healthy and stay in the game, no matter where it takes him.