Bobby Borchering with the Visalia Rawhide in 2011. / Ken Weisenberger/special to news-press.com
Houston Astros' Chris Johnson raises his bat after striking out against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 25, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
• Age: 27
• Height, weight: 6-3, 220
• Position: Third base
• Drafted: Fourth round by Houston Astros in 2006
• Etc.: Bishop Verot High graduate in 2003. … Hit .279 for Houston this season with eight homers and 41 RBIs. In 2011, hit .251 with seven homers and 42 RBIs.
• Age: 21
• Height, weight: 6-2, 205
• Position: Outfield
• Drafted: First round by Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009
• Etc.: Bishop Verot High graduate in 2009. … Had just been promoted to Double-A Mobile (Ala.) in the Southern League from Visalia (Calif.) in Class A. … Hit .277 with 18 homers and 60 RBI for Visalia and hit .130 with two homers and eight RBI in 77 at-bats for Mobile.
When former Bishop Verot baseball coach Tom LoSauro received a call from one of his former standout players, Bobby Borchering, on Sunday morning, he knew something was up.
“He said, ‘Coach, I got traded,’” LoSauro said. “I said, ‘Are you happy?’ And he was very happy. Then he said, ‘Guess who I got traded for?’ That was a crazy question. Then he said, ‘I got traded for C.J.’ I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’”
C.J. is Chris Johnson, like Borchering a Verot product.
Rare is the day when two pro athletes from the same high school are traded for each other.
But it happened Sunday when third baseman Johnson went from the Houston Astros to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Marc Krauss and Borchering, a minor league outfield prospect.
The deal came two days before Tuesday’s nonwaiver trade deadline in the major leagues.
“It’s a small world, you know, for me to get traded for him,” Johnson said Sunday night. “It’s a bit of a shock. But it’s kind of cool for Verot. Now Bobby can follow in my footsteps.”
Borchering added, “I think it’s really funny we’re switching places.”
A 2009 Verot grad, Borchering signed with Arizona a few months later after becoming a first-round draft choice.
Johnson, who graduated Verot in 2003, signed with Houston after attending Stetson University in DeLand.
Although older, Johnson, 27, developed a close bond with Borchering, 21. LoSauro remembered Johnson working at third base with Borchering, his position then, and offering tips that “Bobby took in like a sponge.”
“As I was going through my senior year, (Johnson would) come to the practices some of the time,” Borchering said. “Scouts would come to the practices and workouts and he’d kind of tell me about the whole process while teaching me about third base.
“It was nice to be able to relate with someone who had gone through it before. With him being close to home and being from Verot, that was cool.”
Johnson said the two would talk about whether Borchering should to go to college or the draft.
“He was open ears, really good,” Johnson said. “It was pretty certain he was going to get drafted fairly high so that was hard to pass up. I talked to him about the process, about getting an adviser and talking to people.”
Johnson, who said his phone was “blowing up” after the trade, said he’ll contact Borchering in the next few days after things calm down. He’ll tell them Houston “is a great organization and I loved being there. It’s good for young players to get a shot. You only get one shot at making a first impression so do nothing but your best.”
In the past month, Borchering said he feels like “a bit of a nomad” after going from Visalia, Calif., to Mobile, Ala., to Corpus Christi, Texas, after being promoted from Class A to Double-A, then being traded. He’ll remain in Double-A but is excited about joining an organization that’s going through a youth movement.
“That’s the whole mindset,” said Borchering. “Get there, work hard, continue the dream and make a step toward the big leagues.”
Johnson is going from a team that’s 35-68 after snapping a 12-game losing streak Sunday to a club that’s just 4½ games back in the National League West standings.
The Diamondbacks have traded third baseman Ryan Roberts to Tampa Bay and have used Willie Bloomquist, normally a shortstop, and Ryan Wheeler, who came up from Triple-A, at the position.
LoSauro says it’s hard to believe that two of his players were essentially traded for each other just hours before the trade deadline.
“I never would’ve believed it, somebody you coached,” he said. “I’m happy for both of them and I hope for them, it’s a win-win situation.”