Oakland Clubhouse: You struggled a bit early this year as far as hitting is concerned, what do you attribute to that?
Mike Massaro: I was trying a little too hard. I was pressing too much and wanted to do too much too fast. I didn't just let things happen, I tried to force them and that got me into trouble.
OC: Since April your hitting has been night and day. What changes have you made to turn the season around?
MM: Me and Benny [Winslow - the Cougars hitting coach] have worked on my swing a lot. We went over the tapes and nothing about my swing has changed so I think most of it has been mental.
OC: How important is it for you to set the tone for the team as a leadoff hitter?
MM: I think it's important. When we get out to an early lead we tend to play better baseball. I don't put pressure on myself at all by any means, but it's nice to leadoff a game by getting on base and scoring runs for the team.
OC: You've also batted in the nine spot for this team, does where you are batting change your mindset going into the batters box and possibly change how aggressive you are?
MM: The nine-hole is just another leadoff. So my role hasn't really changed because I take the same approach to every at bat.
OC: You were here last year with the team, does it help to have some experience?
MM: Definitely. Experience plays a big part. When you talk to the older guys, they know so much more because they have been around the game a long time. The experience of being here last year, knowing what it's about, knowing what needs to be done, it helps out a lot.
OC: How important is on-base percentage to you? Is a walk as good as a hit?
MM: A walk is just as good as a hit. They (coaches) focus more on your on-base percentage rather than your average. A leadoff guy has to get on base any way he can. It doesn't matter if you get hit by a pitch or reach on an error. As long as you're getting on base you're doing your job.
OC: Recently, you've moved into the top-10 in batting average in the league and have hit safely in 16 of your last 18 games, are these goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the season?
MM: Yeah. I'm a perfectionist, which can be a bad thing at times. It's always a goal to be at the top. If you don't want to be the best you shouldn't play the game. I just need to do what I know I can do and keep it up.
OC: What are some areas you think you could improve upon?
MM: There's always room for improvement. Whether it be base running, stealing bases, getting better jumps, or reading the ball better in the outfield, there's always something I can do better.