Crazy talk from Pudge
Here’s a sampling of quotes from the man who drew just nine walks last season and averaged 3.51 pitches per plate appearance, 142nd out of 162 Major League hitters who had enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title:
"I’m feeling good. I’m just feeling great at the plate. That’s the stroke that I want to keep all year, just have a good balance at the plate, just see the ball and don’t try to do too much."
"No, I don’t think I’ve had a Spring Training like that as far as home runs. But I don’t look for that. It’s good, yes. I have six home runs in Spring Training. The main thing about it is I’m just doing what I want to do and just be more selective at the plate, try to hit some strikes and take the balls. I’m just trying to see 4-5 pitches per at-bat. That’s what I’m trying to do. And so far, that’s what I’m doing. I’m feeling pretty good about that."
"Everybody knows that I’m not going to be in the middle of the lineup. I’m going to be in the bottom of the lineup, so it’s going to help me a lot to be more selective at the plate and get a good pitch to hit."
"The more years that you play, the better hitter you are. I’m still aggressive, but in the same way that I’m aggressive, I just want to wait for a good pitch to hit. It’s just sometimes you have to trust your ability in the game and sometimes you don’t think about it."
Much like Jeremy Bonderman and his changeup, we’ll see if this spring training project will carry into the regular season. Still, even hearing talk like this out of Pudge is something very different. This is somebody who had very little regard for walks in the not-too-distant past. Now he sounds like a hitter who is maturing, and I have to admit, I never thought that would happen.
Remember that game against the Twins at the Metrodome last September, when Rodriguez drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game and he raised his arms and yelled in triumph? Maybe Matt Garza created a monster.