TROY, NY - In his first professional season, Vermont Lake Monsters' Chris Iriart is proving that he has a nose for driving in runs. The first baseman is third in the New York-Penn League in RBI with 31 in just 42 games played. His 11 doubles are tied for the seventh-most in the league. Iriart was a run-producer for the University of Houston this season, as well. The Southern California native spent two seasons at Orange Coast College before going to Houston. In his first season with the Cougars, Iriart hit 15 homers and drove-in 40 runs in 63 games. The A's nabbed Iriart in the 12th round of this year's draft.
Donald Moore spoke with the 6'2'', 230-pound slugger during a Vermont Lake Monsters' roadtrip to upstate New York in July.
Donald Moore: Hi Chris, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Chris Iriart: It's going pretty good so far. I got off to a little bit of a rough start but I think I have gotten adjusted to it, so we'll see what happens.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
CI: Play everyday, stay healthy, don't get wrapped up in the stats, but more so getting adjusted to professional baseball.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a ball player?
CI: Hitting for power or average, or either or.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
CI: Less strikeouts and more quality at-bats and more well-rounded on defense.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
CI: I think pretty good. I think school prepared me for it with style of practice and games that we had there.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
CI: Playing baseball every day and not having school work.
DM: Any pregame routine?
CI: I usually like to get here a little early, hit, then relax and go do all the team stuff.
DM: Any hobbies?
CI: At home I just like to relax and enjoy my family and friends.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
CI: I was an Angels fan.
DM: If there was one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
CI: Probably my dad. I'd say my dad because he got me into it and then the second one would be my high school coach. He taught me a lot about hitting at an early age..
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
CI: In our regional game, our pitcher had a no-hitter going into the eighth. The guy bunted the ball supposedly off his foot and we ended up losing the game two to one, bases loaded, he hits the guy and lost.
DM: Where do you see yourself in the future regarding your baseball career?
CI: It depends on where the A's see me, but honestly I want to be the best I can be and let the rest take care of itself.
DM: Chris, thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
CI: Thank you.