Former Louisville outfielder Corey Ray talks about his adjustment to professional baseball; Ray was a first-round draft pick by the Brewers

MELBOURNE, Fla. - Former University of Louisville baseball player Corey Ray is 34 games into his professional career and talks with Cardinal Authority about his "ups and downs" and his future with the Brewers' organization.

Corey Ray knew it was going to be a tough transition into professional baseball.

The former University of Louisville All-American outfielder was the No. 5 pick in the MLB Draft in June and was assigned to Brevard County, a Class A Advanced organization of the Milwaukee Brewers in the Florida State League.

In his first 34 games, Ray is hitting just .219 but has hit two home runs, has 14 runs scored, six stolen bases and 14 RBIs and said he's excited to try and end the season on a high note.

"Up and down," Ray said of his first month as a professional. "It's been a roller coaster but it's been fun.

"Bring able to sign a professional contract to come out here and play the game and get paid to do it has just been great. You play for Louisville at Louisville and you think the world doesn't get better than that but you come here and the guys are better. It's taken me a little time but I am getting adjusted, getting better and I'm excited about the future."

After ending his career at U of L, Ray took some time off before reporting to Brevard County. He was a finalist for several national awards and was attending an awards ceremony before he started playing pro ball.

Ray said that break was good for him mentally but not physically.

"I'm always ready to play," he said. "But trying to deal with everything that was happening and also trying to deal with us not winning a national championship, it was nice for me to take a week and a half off mentally. I felt like I came out here and was relaxed and ready."

Ray made his debut on July 4 against Dunedin and said he was hitting everything on the barrel early on just "hitting it right to someone," going 0-for-4 in his first game and 2-for-21 to start his career.

And then it was a nine-game hitting streak. Ray had two hits in each of his next two games and saw his average pop up to .266.

"They realize you can hit a fastball and they start throwing you everything else," Ray said. "And then you realize just how humbling baseball is. I'm just trying to take it in stride. The competitor in me is a little upset, but I also know that in the long run this is going to be good for me. I have to work on some things and seeing all these pitches is going to make me better in the long run."

Ray has only had more than one hit in a game three times since his streak ended on July 18. He's hitting just .219 but has both of his home runs in the last eight games and also has six doubles and has walked 12 times.

Ray said one of the toughest parts of the adjustment has been off the field. He said at U of L there was always someone else there to remind him or make sure he was doing the right thing in regards to baseball.

"Nobody tells you what to eat, nobody tells you when to lift, nobody tells you when to go to sleep," Ray said. "You don't have a curfew. If you want to go out and be out all night then you can, they don't tell you what to do and when to do it. That's been a big adjustment.

"While I was at Louisville it was funny I always said I want to get out of here and never come back (for workouts). But this offseason, I think I'll go back and work out with Zach (Ferrel) and try to get some work in on the field."

While there's been no speculation on a plan for his future and when he could get promoted, Ray said he's trying to stay positive.

"Everybody develops at a different level," Ray said. "The goal is to get there. Yes, as quick as possible but I'm not expecting to get there in a year or two years. I just want to be ready for whenever my name is called."

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