Q&A: Kenny Diekroeger

Kenny Diekroeger has been one of Stanford's most dependable hitters for three years, and he has recently come under the spotlight again because of shortstop Lonnie Kauppila's season-ending injury. Diekroeger is embracing his return back to his original position on the left side of the infield.

The Bootleg: Kenny Diekroeger, what do you hitters do in between games to right the ship offensively?

Well, we know that all these series are big. And we realize that we've struggled a bit at times this year. But we just continue to put in all the necessary work during the week and trust that it will pay off in our game-day approach.

Everyone has just been just trying to get back into the form that they're used to. We know what we're capable of, and [up until this past weekend,] we hadn't been playing up to that standard. So we've been doing everything that we can to get back there.

What about the warmer weather? How much does that aid hitting?

We use metal bats, and I've been told that you can use a bat warmer to increase the compression factor of the bats. From that standpoint, being in warmer weather causes the ball to carry farther. But the bottom line is that baseball is a sport that is supposed to be played in warmer weather. So playing closer to summertime, it helps everyone get a better feel. It's helping us get back to where we were earlier in the year, as far as delivering a lot of hits and a lot of runs.

You're a great situational hitter. It seems that you're a dependable bet to deliver that sacrifice fly or ground ball to the right side when your team needs it. Do you emphasize that facet of your game?

In general, I try to treat every at bat the same. But in those big situations, I focus extra hard on not trying to do too much. I just try to see the ball well and put a good swing on it. Hopefully, I hit it hard. But it's important to just get the job done.

Lonnie Kauppila is done for the year. Are you embracing your return to the shortstop position?

Yeah, I like playing shortstop. It's more difficult than second base. The throws are harder. But I've always been a shortstop, so I have fun out there.

On road trips, I've noticed that you may be the biggest foodie on this Stanford team. Is eating one of your main passions?

It is. I eat a lot. Eating is a part of what I do. It's part of my training. I have to keep my weight up to maintain my power. And in order to do that, I have to be eating a lot. Plus I have a natural liking for food.

Well I always see you carrying around an Ike's sandwich, but what are your favorite places to eat in the Pac-12?

I like finding places. I know Seattle always has a nice selection, and I always look for a Chick-fil-A on the road. But more than anything, I like being home. As you said, I'm a huge Ike's Place fan [sandwich shop on Stanford's campus]. It's the best sandwich I've ever had, hands down. It could even be the best food item I've ever had. The menage a trois with fried chicken...

[Laugh] Well, keep fueling up. It's helping you swing a dependable bat. Good luck through this brutal stretch.

Thanks, David.

About the Author: David Lombardi is a Stanford and Pac-12 Conference enthusiast. He has broadcast the Cardinal on KZSU for several years and is currently contributing to the Cardinal Channel. You can check several of his Stanford calls out at www.davidmatthewlombardi.com, where you can also read his West Coast-oriented blog via this direct link. For Stanford baseball insights, follow David on Twitter at davidmlombardi.

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