Thanks to Marty Maloney and the White Sox PR staff, Friday afternoon offered another opportunity for bloggers to interview a member of the White Sox organization. This time it was 2009 1st round draft pick Jared Mitchell, former LSU two-sport star, and currently the starting center fielder for the AA Birmingham Barons.
After tearing a tendon in ankle in Spring Training of 2010, Mitchell missed that entire season, struggled through a poor 2011 campaign, but is now starting to show the promise of college career, hitting .282/.413/.483 with 11 stolen bases.
Mark Primiano of South Side Sox did his usual exemplary work transcribing the interview, which can and should be viewed here. Jim Margalus of SSS also participated, as well as Matt Adams of Southside Showdown, Doug Banks of The Sports Bank, and Jim of White Sox Gap.
Mitchell on his ankle...
- "I finally felt around 100% healthy around November. You're only really able to play and be 100% yourself when you're 100% healthy. When you're 100% healthy, it kind of frees your mind up to everything else and lets you focus on the task at hand."
- "There've been a number of plays and things I've done at the plate, on the bases, in the field that I just wasn't back to doing yet last year. It might have taken repetitions, but for whatever reason I just wasn't up to doing that last year. But now a year later stuff's starting to come back and it's kind of fun."
- On whether that will lead to more stolen bases: "The speed is there so why not play with it? It helps put a lot more pressure on the defense so I really want that to be a part of my game again."
On being promoted to Birmingham...
- On the decision: "I think it came down a lot to my mental makeup. They know what kind of person I am in the organization and me being finally healthy and looking like myself again is what probably made the decision for them. I wouldn't say I was surprised. I feel like I can compete on this level and levels above this."
- "The game is faster at this level. I went through everything last year with the game feeling so much faster, but this year I'm allowing things to happen and it feels like everything is slowing down and I can see the game at a true speed. It almost feels like it plays slower than last year because I tried to do so much last year."
- "I played here a couple times at SEC tournaments in college and I never noticed how big the field was back then. But when you're here every day and get to know the field? You realize how much bigger the field is and plays, especially at night when the ball doesn't carry. The biggest thing is it really makes you learn how to hit: keeping the ball down, using the gaps, avoiding just hitting flyballs since they won't carry. I think if you can hit here at Birmingham, especially at night, then you can hit anywhere."
What's different this year...
- "The better plate discipline I guess comes from being in a better position at the plate. I can finally use my legs which allows me to see the ball better which I feel is helping a lot. You let yourself get into hitter's counts, you don't chase, and everything just kind of goes from there."
- "For me or anyone else, the biggest thing I was able to do this year was not make everything try to come so quick and be able to go home at the end of the day and look at myself in the mirror and say 'I'm making progress.' It may or may not show up the stats, but the biggest thing is to know that you're making the progress. The stats will come when everything comes together
- "Last year I think I subconsciously sat there and tried to make up for lost time and you can put yourself in a big hole trying to do that. In the offseason I was able to kind of clear my mind and get into the mindset where I was like 'Go out there and do what you can every day. Don't worry about anything. Whatever happens, happens and I'm gonna make it work.' That's where I'm at now and I don't worry about where I should be or what could have been. If I just keep playing every day, great things will happen."