What's going on guys? I've been in Richmond, Virginia the last few days playing a four game series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Yes, I agree with you, that is possibly the strangest baseball mascot I've ever heard of. Anyways, this is my first time in Richmond and it seems to be a pretty cool place. So far we have split the first two games of the series, and I'll be spending another two days here before heading back to Harrisburg on Sunday night.
On a totally separate note, I wanted to quickly give you a preview of "The second most interesting man in the world" right behind that Dos Equis guy. Sorry ladies, but he's taken.
Lastly, I just realized that I answered a bunch of questions for Jessica Quiroli of Heels On the Field a little more than a month ago but forgot to ever post it on my blog. I guess it is still interesting to see how some of my answers about Spring Training actually ended up turning out now that it is over. Anyways, here you go. I hope you enjoy.
Growing up in Mass I'm sure baseball was a big part of your life. When did it shift to become something you wanted to do with your life? As a multi-sport talent did you feel sure baseball was the direction you wanted to go in professionally?
I think right around the beginning of my Junior year in high school I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to try to play baseball for a living. That was the time I decided I would play baseball in college, and my ultimate goal was to be drafted into professional baseball and hopefully one day play in the Major Leagues.
When I was younger I always wanted to play in either the NHL or the MLB. I actually thought I had a better chance of playing hockey for a living when I was first entering high school, but by my Junior year I knew baseball would be the sport I had the best chance at playing professionally.
Having played at every level of baseball, what's the hardest thing to adjust to? Obviously the pitching gets tougher, but has there been anything you struggled with the most?
I think every time you move up a level in baseball you have to adjust to a bunch of things. The game moves a little fast as you move up and get older, so you have to work on slowing the game down. You don't have as much time to do things so you really have to be efficient with everything you are trying to do. As far as hitting goes, you won't have as many opportunities to get that good pitch to hit, so you have to make sure your swing is right, so when you get that one good pitch to hit you don't miss it.
You've got a new opportunity with the Nationals and you have to prove your healthy. What's your goal out of spring training?
My number one goal is to stay healthy. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure my body is ready to go. My injuries so far have mostly been from bad luck, so I also have to get lucky. I feel that if I can stay healthy I will be successful this season.
Have you changed your approach at the plate since you were first drafted? What is the best hitting advice you're received in the years you've played at the pro level?
I have definitely changed parts of my approach at the plate since being drafted. I think you learn a little bit each year and you take those things and add them to your game. A lot of times the things you learn are more mental than physical. One of the big things I've changed as far as my approach goes is my aggressiveness. I've had to learn how to be more aggressive. How to look for a certain pitch, and when I get that pitch I need to put my best swing on it.
I've received a ton of advice and hitting knowledge since playing professionally. I don't know what the best word of advice was because there are so many, but I think the simplest yet most important advice is to expect that you will get your pitch to hit every single pitch you see. Seems quite simple, but it really makes a big difference.
What inspired you to begin the blog? Has it helped you as you've gone through all the different experiences?
I first started my blog because a friend of mine on my team had one and I thought the idea was pretty cool. I like to interact with fans and I thought it would be a cool way to do so. I also wanted to do it so I could let my friends and family back home know what was going on with me while I was playing baseball on the other side of the country. I have really enjoyed my time blogging and I've had the opportunity to talk with and meet a lot of really great people from all over the place.
Finally, what is the one thing you'd like to improve this season?
I always want to improve all areas of my game, but the one thing I want to be better at this year is my offense. The last three years I have either been injured, or if I was healthy I hit extremely poorly. I know I am a totally different player right now than I was during those three seasons, so I am looking forward to getting on the field and proving I can hit again.