Ryan Langerhans Interview

As the Braves start spring training today, the pitchers and catchers will be getting in their initial workouts underway. However, when the position players join them next week, one of the most interesting players to watch will be Ryan Langerhans. The left-handed hitting outfielder is out of options, and even General Manager John Schuerholz has said he thinks Langerhans' time has come to make the jump to the big leagues. Last Saturday. Bill Shanks talked with Langerhans about his upcoming spring.

SHANKS: Has this winter had a different feeling knowing what you might be getting ready to do?

LANGERHANS: I think so. I think I needed the full season last year at Richmond. I think it was good for me. I think I really started to figure some things out with the bat, which is kind of what I needed to do to make this last jump. I'm feeling pretty good about where I am right now. I'm really, really excited to get down there to spring training and be apart of going after number fourteen.

SHANKS: Is there pressure knowing that the equation is kind of set in your favor to make it this season? Do you think they want you to make the team?

LANGERHANS: I get that feeling from them. I think the way they've handled it and the things they've said to me has taken a little bit of that pressure off. I know that by no means there is going to be a job that will be handed to me, but I've just got to go out and show them that I can help the team whether it's as being the left-handed hitter off the bench or platooning or whatever the situation might be out there. I've got to go down and show Bobby that in spring training and hopefully be out there on Opening Day.

SHANKS: It's easy for people to assume that it would be ok for you to simply get that fourth job, but you want to be apart of a platoon, don't you?

LANGERHANS: I'd love to be in that situation. Brian Jordan is a guy that I've gotten to meet before. He comes across as a great guy. He's been around the league and he's a great ballplayer. I'm just going to try to soak up everything I can from those guys. All three of those guys (Jordan, Raul Mondesi, and Andruw Jones) have already had great careers. It sounds funny thinking Andruw is such a veteran when he's only 27, but it's a great group of guys to learn from. If I end up in a platoon situation, I'm going to have myself ready for it. If I end up just coming off the bench to do what I can, I'm going to be ready for that also.

SHANKS: You've got to feel that you've just about done everything you needed to do in the minor leagues?

LANGERHANS: That's kind of the way I feel. Right now is my window. There's a good spot there for somebody. Why not let me be the guy? I went there (to Richmond) and I know they were looking for a good, consistent year from me and would have liked to have seen power, and I feel like I showed them a lot of those things. I would have liked to have ended up hitting .300, but that didn't work out on the last day of the season. But I feel like I did the things I needed to do though, so I'm excited about it and ready to go.

SHANKS: You've got so many friends on the team like Adam LaRoche and Nick Green, so that's got to motivate you a bit just to get up there with them?

LANGERHANS: Oh it is. Guys like Roche, and Greenie, and it would be great if Pete (Orr) goes in and wins a job. I would have some of my best friends in the clubhouse with me. I was joking around with somebody yesterday. They were asking me if he (LaRoche) was going to help show me the ropes. I said, "He'll probably think since he's got one year under his belt that I'm going to have to carry his bags for him." But I'm looking forward to it.

SHANKS: Do you need to just go play this spring or is there anything you need to do to impress them that you are ready?

LANGERHANS: I think I just need to go out there and play. I think I showed them that I could handle the Triple-A level. I went out there and had a good year and did what I needed to do. Now it's just a matter of showing them that I can do it at that level. I think they know I can play defense. So I just need to show them that I can be consistent with the bat. I'm sure I'll be called on to do some little things: get bunts down in certain situations, get guys over, and hit and run. I think showing them little things like that will go a long way in getting me a spot on the roster.

SHANKS: To watch how easy LaRoche had it in his rookie season does that help you know that it can be done?

LANGERHANS: I think so. Adam and I are real close friends and I talked with him during the course of the year. He kind of told me what he was going through. Then we talked in the offseason and he kind of told me some things to expect and how to handle certain situations both on and off the field – just how to conduct yourself and not overstep your bounds as a rookie. Being such close friends with him and having his experience be so close at hand will help ease the transition for me.

Bill Shanks can be reached at thebravesshow@email.com

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