Q&A with Luis Montanez

Q&A with the first-round draft pick of four years ago.                                                            

Q: Tell us a little about your recent transition from the infield to the outfield, and whose idea it was to try that?

A: It was all of us, really. We all got together and decided I was going to go to the outfield. It's gone fairly smooth. It hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be. For the most part, it's gone well.

Q: I guess the second question that pops into my head right now has to do with whether or not you prefer the outfield to the infield?

A: Well I played outfield my first couple of years back in high school. It's something that I had never done professionally until recently. So far, I like it better than in the infield. There's more relaxation out there. I feel comfortable out there more so than in the infield. There's less pressure and less responsibility and therefore I am able to focus more on my offensive side of the game.

Q: You began the year at Daytona and then went to Mesa due to injury. Tell us a little about that.

A: I had some arm troubles and I went to Mesa, and we were working over there. I was rehabbing a little bit and it was their that we decided to go to the outfield.

Q: The arm--what was the extent of injury there?

A: Soreness pretty much. Nothing major; nothing that they needed to examine. I also fractured my wrist last year and had some ankle troubles very early on, but that's about it in terms of injury.

Q: Obviously a lot has changed since 2000 when you were in high school in Miami. What has been the biggest struggle for you since joining the professional ranks?

A: The competition. Every year here, you're facing good competition. In high school, every one in awhile you face a pitcher that dominates, but in professional ball, every day you have to be on your toes and mentally prepared because you're going to be facing guys who want to take your job. It's a grind.

Q: Have you tried any different approaches at the plate? I know you've had a lot of different coaches obviously.

A: Just small things, really. You know, more mental stuff, like preparing myself for at-bats and guessing what pitchers are going to throw. But the physical swing itself, no, not really. It's pretty much the same.

Q: This is now your fifth year in the organization. Are you happy with where you're at right now?

A: Yeah, I'm happy where I'm at. I wish I was in a higher league, but I'm content right now since I'm playing outfield. It's all right with me.

Q: That's great to hear. One thing I'm always curious about is players' adjustment to wooden bats from aluminun bats in high school. You swung with aluminum on the varsity level, so I'm curious as to how the transition went for you.

A: My first experience with wood was my first year in rookie ball, which was interesting. A lot of guys go through some struggles early on while getting used to the wood.

Q: Did you?

A: I did. The first couple of weeks I was having trouble with inside pitches. But you start getting used to it since they throw you out there every day. You have to figure it out.

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