Arce Ready To Get After It

Eric Arce had a somewhat disappointing season in 2012 after setting a Gulf Coast League record for home runs [14] in his debut season the year before. Dealing with a nagging injury all season long was part of the reason, however, and now he says he's finally healthy and he's getting some more reps at his favorite position heading into next season.

"The year didn't go too bad for me," Arce said. "We had a good team there in Bluefield. I felt personally that it just didn't come together as a team and individually for myself I was going through some ups and some downs with injuries and stuff like that.

"When it was time and I got called to produce I did what I had to do. I would have liked a better season but unfortunately I was dealt with those cards and I'll just get them next year. My season wasn't too bad but I felt like I could have done better."

He hit just .236 for the Bluefield Blue Jays and despite playing through a nagging right hip flexor injury all season, which certainly affected his left-handed swing, he still managed to tie teammate Santiago Nessy for the team-lead in home runs [8] this year.

"It made me immobilized and it was affecting my swing but I wanted to stay in there everyday, I wanted to be a team player, and I felt even though I was hurt that I could still do the job with the bat," he said.

"I've had this injury and it's been with me for [five] months now. I was playing through it in Spring Training and me being a knucklehead sometimes I wanted to play though it instead of getting treatment on it. It's finally healed up and I'm ready to get after it."

He played mostly left field in his first two seasons with some games at designated hitter and first base sprinkled in there at times, but that's not really what he believes best suits him. Finally over the hip injury, the Blue Jays began moving him back behind the dish at Instructs last month.

"I've caught ever since I was a little kid," he said with a smile. "I grew up catching. I personally feel that is my best position.

"I still have to work on a couple of things but I have great coaches here who are helping me out and I'm getting very, very comfortable with the catching situation. I'm just excited to see what the future has in store for me."

Standing just 5-foot-9, there really isn't an ideal home for him in the outfield or at first base long-term. While catching could be a better fit for him physically, mentally he just feels like it's home.

"I love catching, I love it," he added. "I love to take control of the game, I love helping our pitchers out, whatever I need to do to help the team win.

"Catchers are in every play and I like that. I feel like that's going to be the position that helps me out in the long-run. I am excited to catch."

If he sounds like a different guy when talking about catching it's because he really is. Happy to put his injury behind, now that he has gotten back behind the plate he feels his game is ready to take off.

"I have a good sense of hitting but I want to get some extra work in, some extra reps in, and really transform my hitting into something special if I keep doing it the right way and keep doing what the coaches keep telling me.

"Defensively I want to get getting better ever single day, literally. It's significant improvement [already]. I work hard all of the time and I have great coaches. I feel like my overall game in Instructs is getting to transform tremendously.

"Next year I'm expecting a terrific, terrific year, better than my first year. If I keep putting in the hard work and keep focusing, I think that I'll be fine. I'm ready to get after it," he concluded.

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