Auburn, Ala.--One of the players the Auburn Tigers are counting on to play a key role in the outfield this season is junior college transfer Josh Palacios. A native of New York that played juco ball at San Jacinto in Texas, the 6-1 lefty has shown a strong glove and very good plate discipline this preseason for the Tigers. Because of that he’s expected to get plenty of playing time in left field for Auburn and could also play right field as well. He talks about that and more in this Q and A:
Talk about the season? It has been a whirlwind. How excited are you to get this thing started?
“I’m really excited to get this season started with the new coaching staff especially. They have been treating us very well. We’ve been really getting after it at practice. I’m really enjoying the way our team is looking right now. I really think we have a good shot to go somewhere this year. I’m really excited to get going.”
Playing beside Anfernee Grier and working with him, how is that bond going because you need to have that chemistry?
“Anfernee is a good guy and he’s real funny. We’re real close so me and him have a real competitive spirit going on. It’s fun to be out there next to a guy like that. He’s done so much in the SEC. I guess I can learn a little bit from him because he knows the ropes. It will be fun playing with him and learn a little bit from him and challenge him a little bit.”
You’ve moved in the outfield and now you’re having to learn about the wall a little. How has that transition been?
“The green monster swallowed me up the first day, but I have been out there working with the green monster and working with Coach and everybody. I think I have a pretty good grasp of the green monster now. I’m talking to it at night and I’m befriending it. Hopefully it will be nice to me this season.”
Transition from New York to junior college to playing in the SEC. Do you feel like you’ve prepared for this moment and getting ready to play in this league?
“In the past few years I’ve played baseball I got to see different levels of baseball, different levels of pitching, so I feel like I’m very prepared for this level of pitching and this level of baseball. I have been moving around a lot and last year I kind of got used to the South. That’s a bit of a change for me since I’m from New York City. I like it and I like it down here. I feel really comfortable and welcome down here. I’m ready to get going.”
To be able to have 65 or 70 degrees in February how much fun is that as a baseball player?
“That’s beautiful because my little brother just stepped on the field two days ago to start baseball and we’ve been out here for two months. It’s a blessing. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
What is this team’s dynamic like? Are the players kind of taking care of each other because there was a time you didn’t have a coach?
“It was rough for a little bit of time because we had no coach. I thought the biggest key was that the players bonded and we were really all that we had because we didn’t know what was going on. The players really got a tight bond and we had to police ourselves and control ourselves. We kind of learned a lot about each other and we grew in that time. I feel like that’s really going to help us this season.”
What are your goals this season?
“My goals for this year is to try to help us any way we can to get to the College World Series this year.”