Lopes Wants to Maintain Strength

Dunedin FL. - 2011 seventh round draft pick Christian Lopes is excited to be playing in his first full season with the Blue Jays. A minor wrist injury has set him back just slightly, but Lopes is determined to return to full health and is eager to get back in the swing of things. His ability to play is there. He will just have to work on proving himself in upcoming games.

"Offensively he has been hampered a little bit," said Manager Clayton McCullough. "He has been injured some, but is getting back to health. His wrist was bothering him a bit but he is getting back going and he'll be fine. We got a lot of year left."

Lopes' minor injury is due to overuse. It put him out of the game for a short time, but he is working with his trainers on getting back to normal. Along with strength training, Lopes has amped up his cardio so that his transition back is an easy one. He is expected to show results and not be too hindered by his time out.

"Christian has a good feel for hitting," said McCullough. "He's got a good approach. He's very aggressive and he hangs in there well. He shows the ability to drive the ball."

The 19-year-old spent the offseason preparing himself by finding out all of the information that he needed to know in order to have a good season. His training included work with his hitting, cardio and figuring out defensively what he needed to do.

"Working out and being on the right nutrition plan worked for me," Lopes said. "I gained some strength and now it's about maintaining. Hopefully I will continue to grow into my man-strength. I'm still young and have a lot of growing to do."

Lopes' first Spring Training camp went well for him. He feels as though he learned a lot from his coaches and from watching the big leaguers. He got himself into a nice routine and found out what he needed to work on.

"It's a lot of stress and a lot is expected so I have more work to do since it was just my first Spring Training," he said. "But overall I feel like I trained my body enough to keep up with the daily grind of just going out there and trying to compete every single day."

Lopes continues to work on everything that he learned in instructional camp and as soon as he has the chance to play in more games, he can continue to prove himself. What he has already shown is looking good so far. At this point, some minor adjustments will help him along the way.

"He's showing a pretty advanced approach for a guy just coming in," McCullough said. "He understands what pitches that he can drive. He needs to tighten his swing and shorten it up. He has some gap power. He's able to stay in the middle of the infield and is able to play premium position up the middle. He has the ability to be a solid defender. Christian is also working on getting into a better hitting position more often."

While Lopes will continue to work on and improve his hitting skills, he is encouraged to work on other aspects of his game aside from hitting. He will be prompted to keep up his defensive skills and pick things up even more in that area.

Extended Spring Training has yet to really take off for the young shortstop because of his injury, but he is listening to his coaches' advice and it seems that consistency will be his best bet for the near future.

"Improving consistency to his at bats and his consistency to be able to handle the routine plays is a focus now," McCullough said. "He's got enough athletic ability to make the great plays, were just trying to get him to make the routine plays and be consistent on both sides of the ball."

Lopes feels like his confidence level is high right now because of how he ended Spring Training on a good note, better preparing him to continue the success into EST. As far as the short season is concerned, Lopes is ready.

"It couldn't come any faster," he said. "We're just waiting it out and doing the best we can every single day getting ready for it. I'm definitely excited."

While Lopes has some areas of improvement to work on and some catching up to do, McCullough is optimistic for him and has good things to say about one of the newest Blue Jays prospects.

"I think Christian is certainly someone who has a chance to be a major league player and be a guy who can help a team win," McCullough said. "He is going to develop into a very good hitter and there is a very bright future for Christian."

Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\"Offensively he has been hampered a little bit,\" said Manager Clayton McCullough. \"He has been injured some, but is getting back to health. His wrist was bothering him a bit but he is getting back going and he'll be fine. We got a lot of year left.\"
\r\n\r\n
Lopes' minor injury is due to overuse. It put him out of the game for a short time, but he is working with his trainers on getting back to normal. Along with strength training, Lopes has amped up his cardio so that his transition back is an easy one. He is expected to show results and not be too hindered by his time out.
\r\n\r\n
\"Christian has a good feel for hitting,\" said McCullough. \"He's got a good approach. He's very aggressive and he hangs in there well. He shows the ability to drive the ball.\"
\r\n\r\n
The 19-year-old spent the offseason preparing himself by finding out all of the information that he needed to know in order to have a good season. His training included work with his hitting, cardio and figuring out defensively what he needed to do.
\r\n\r\n
\"Working out and being on the right nutrition plan worked for me,\" Lopes said. \"I gained some strength and now it's about maintaining. Hopefully I will continue to grow into my man-strength. I'm still young and have a lot of growing to do.\"
\r\n\r\n
Lopes' first Spring Training camp went well for him. He feels as though he learned a lot from his coaches and from watching the big leaguers. He got himself into a nice routine and found out what he needed to work on.
\r\n\r\n
\"It's a lot of stress and a lot is expected so I have more work to do since it was just my first Spring Training,\" he said. \"But overall I feel like I trained my body enough to keep up with the daily grind of just going out there and trying to compete every single day.\"
\r\n\r\n
Lopes continues to work on everything that he learned in instructional camp and as soon as he has the chance to play in more games, he can continue to prove himself. What he has already shown is looking good so far. At this point, some minor adjustments will help him along the way.
\r\n\r\n
\"He's showing a pretty advanced approach for a guy just coming in,\" McCullough said. \"He understands what pitches that he can drive. He needs to tighten his swing and shorten it up. He has some gap power. He's able to stay in the middle of the infield and is able to play premium position up the middle. He has the ability to be a solid defender. Christian is also working on getting into a better hitting position more often.\"
\r\n\r\n
While Lopes will continue to work on and improve his hitting skills, he is encouraged to work on other aspects of his game aside from hitting. He will be prompted to keep up his defensive skills and pick things up even more in that area.
\r\n\r\n
Extended Spring Training has yet to really take off for the young shortstop because of his injury, but he is listening to his coaches' advice and it seems that consistency will be his best bet for the near future.
\r\n\r\n
\"Improving consistency to his at bats and his consistency to be able to handle the routine plays is a focus now,\" McCullough said. \"He's got enough athletic ability to make the great plays, were just trying to get him to make the routine plays and be consistent on both sides of the ball.\"
\r\n\r\n
Lopes feels like his confidence level is high right now because of how he ended Spring Training on a good note, better preparing him to continue the success into EST. As far as the short season is concerned, Lopes is ready.
\r\n\r\n
\"It couldn't come any faster,\" he said. \"We're just waiting it out and doing the best we can every single day getting ready for it. I'm definitely excited.\"
\r\n\r\n
While Lopes has some areas of improvement to work on and some catching up to do, McCullough is optimistic for him and has good things to say about one of the newest Blue Jays prospects.
\r\n\r\n
\"I think Christian is certainly someone who has a chance to be a major league player and be a guy who can help a team win,\" McCullough said. \"He is going to develop into a very good hitter and there is a very bright future for Christian.\"
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