Interview with Top Padres Prospect Matt Antonelli
Matt Antonelli was kind enough to take time and answer a few questions for Friarhood. The questions are listed in bold with his answers below them. Be sure to check out his site at http://mattantonelli9.blogspot.com/ and follow him on twitter, @MattAntonelli9
(Friarhood) First give us some insight into life as a top prospect for the San Diego Padres.
(Matt Antonelli) There is nothing I'd rather be doing than playing baseball for the Padres. The Padres are a great organization and playing professional baseball is something I have been working towards since I was young. I am just working really hard everyday to make myself a very good player that can help the Padres be successful and win baseball games.
(FH) After spending limited time on the field in 2009 what has this offseason been like for you? How is your health heading into Spring Training?
(MA) Last year was a really weird year for me. After not playing the way I wanted to in 2008 I was looking forward to putting everything behind me in 2009. Unfortunately, I got banged up in Spring Training and had to miss the first month and a half of the season. I had never been hurt before in my life, so not being able to play with my team was really uncomfortable for me. I really didn't know what to do and I felt horrible about not being out there. When I joined the team I felt good for the first few weeks but ended up hurting myself again and missing a week or so because of it. I tried playing through the pain but ended up getting the flu and missing 16 games because of that. It was really just a bad year health wise for me, but my body feels the best it ever has right now. I am really looking forward to putting all that stuff in the past and having a great year this year.
(FH) What is one aspect of your game that you worked on this offseason that you are excited to see payoff on the field in 2010?
(MA) I have worked on a lot of stuff this off-season, but the one part of my game that I have really focused on is my hitting. It has been really frustrating to not hit well the last two years. Hitting was always something that I had done well during my baseball career, so not hitting well for so long was extremely frustrating. I know my swing is in a much better place right now than it has been in the past.
(FH) What has been the hardest adjustment with pro ball?
(MA) Adjusting to pro ball was more difficult my first year or so than it is now. The real adjustments come with the travel and the amount of time you are playing baseball. In college you play 56 games over almost five months. You come to pro ball and are thrown into a 150 game or so season. It takes a while to get used to playing that many games over a season. Now that I have been through three seasons 150 games feels very normal to me.
(FH) During spring training last season Corey Brock wrote a piece about how you were using video to help keep your swing consistent. Is that still a tactic you are using for 2010?
(MA) I got into video two years ago when my swing started to break down and I still use it today. Video is something that a lot of players use to make sure their swing stays the way they want it. The thing about video is to make sure you don't go crazy with it. If you put your swing in slow motion and look at it 500 times you can find something that you might think is wrong with every part of your swing. There are a few parts of my swing that I like to look at to make sure everything is happening the way I want, but I make sure not to overdo it.
(FH) With David Eckstein coming back for this season, do you expect to compete for the starting second base job in Spring Training?
(MA) David is a really great player and more importantly just an awesome guy. I feel very fortunate to be able to learn from him. He played great last season and I know he will do the same this year. I am going to Spring Training to play the absolute best baseball I can play. I don't really worry about who is behind me or who is in front of me. I am going to play my best baseball and let everything else take care of itself.