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Friday, Mar 30 2012 12:00 PM

German-raised Lutz could briefly power Blaze

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    Donald Lutz, who was raised in Germany, could be a force for the Bakersfield Blaze this season.

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BY LOUIS AMESTOY Californian staff writer lamestoy@bakersfield.com

Baseball is right around the corner for the Blaze, Bakersfield's single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, and the Bleacher Report gives a pretty good reason to see a game this season.

His name is Donald Lutz, who will start his season here when the Blaze open against Visalia on Thursday, April 5.

Lutz his .301 in 123 games for single-A Dayton last season with 20 home runs. He also hit for the cycle last season for Dayton.

The 6-foot-3 Lutz plays first base and is expected to get plenty of attention from manager Ken Griffey Sr., but don't expect him to stick around for most of the season.

"If Lutz continues his high level of offensive output, he should have no problem reaching AA Pensacola this year and possibly even AAA Louisville," writes Tyler Duma, a Bleacher Report contributor.

Lutz's story is even more interesting than his power and stature on the field, according to MLB.com's writer Mark Sheldon.

"Lutz, now 23, was born in Watertown, N.Y., but he was a 1-year-old when his German mother took him back to her country and raised him there. He grew up in Regensburg, a Bavarian city about 90 minutes south of Munich," Sheldon writes.

Yes, that's right -- Lutz is German. In fact, he's the first player to advance through the European Academy to be added to a 40-man roster. And here's another interesting fact: Lutz only started playing when he was 16.

Lutz is currently having a nice spring with a .304 batting average, two home runs and eight RBI. His .609 slugging percentage is among the best on the team this spring.

For more read the following:

Bleacher Report top Reds prospects

From MLB.com: German slugger has been only playing for seven years

And here's some video of his power on the field:

 

And here's the game where he hit for the cycle for Dayton:

 

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