Jonathan Schuerholz Interview

The Braves have promoted Jonathan Schuerholz to AAA Richmond. BravesCenter's Bill Shanks had a chance to talk with Schuerholz as he moves closer to the big leagues.

SHANKS: So how did it feel to get the call to go to Richmond?
SCHUERHOLZ: I was excited because I've never been called up before (during the season). I'm just looking forward to the challenge of proving myself at a higher level.

SHANKS: Now you're batting average has really improved since the beginning of the season. What do you attribute the improvement to?
SCHUERHOLZ: I just came into spring training with the mindset that I was not going to put that much pressure on myself because I had just started to get back and have a first full season hitting just right-handed. I worked real hard in the offseason getting my right-handed swing back, and I just kind of put last year's season behind me and didn't really focus on that because I didn't really think that was a true barometer of what I was as a player. So I just didn't try to think about last year and instead just focus on this season.

SHANKS: So now you've got to feel that finally you are a right-handed hitter?
SCHUERHOLZ: Yes I do. I really do. When you're switch-hitting, you've got to make sure you're getting enough swings from both sides of the plate. It's so hard to do. I think I might have been able to do it if I had started early in my career, but I'm a bit older and I don't have the timetable that younger guys have, so I had to make a decision. Now knowing that everyday I can go in and work on my right-handed swing is a load off my back.

SHANKS: I would imagine that particularly with your buddies Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur now in Atlanta, getting closer to the big leagues is even more exciting?
SCHUERHOLZ: This year is the first year you really realize you're close to the big leagues. We've seen four guys go up from our team to the big leagues. I made a joke with Snitker and said, "Snit after telling me I'm going to AAA is it kind of a letdown after telling four guys they're going to big leagues?" So it hammers it home that I'm this close to the big leagues. Now that I'm going to AAA I know I'm not going to put any pressure on myself. I'm just going to play my game and do what I can to help the team win and hopefully that'll be enough to warrant (a promotion) maybe next year or the year after that. Who knows?

SHANKS: You've got to be proud of what you've accomplished this year, especially with all the struggles you've had with your hitting and the obvious pressure you're under?
SCHUERHOLZ: I'm very proud of the accomplishments I've made this year. I talked to Roy Clark before the season started. He said, "You know what man? You're going to show people a lot of things this year." Granted I hit .207 last year, and I deserved a lot of the criticism. But he was confident in my ability and I was confident in my abilities, so it was really good to come out here and really prove to myself and everybody else that I can play this game and I can do it.

SHANKS: Since they say, ‘if you can play in AA, you can play in the big leagues,' this must give you a lot of confidence?
SCHUERHOLZ: Yeah it gives you a lot of confidence. The game speeds up a lot between High-A and AA. You've got to make that adjustment. I have no question that if they do happen to give me that call, if they do need me for some reason I feel like I would help the team as much as I can. But right now I'm focused on going to Richmond and furthering my career there, and whatever happens from there I'm not going to really focus on the big leagues just yet.

SHANKS: How proud are you of yourself for doing what you've done so far this year?
SCHUERHOLZ: I think I've always had the talent level in me, but it's good to see it come out. I knew I could always do it, but it's finally good to see it on paper and see the hard stats that I knew I could accomplish it and find out that I could actually prove myself that I could do it. It's a load off my back.


Bill Shanks's new book, "Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team," features a section on Jonathan Schuerholz and the rest of 'the Georgia Boys.' Bill can be reached at thebravesshow@email.com


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