Spring Camp Q&A: Casey McGehee

<B>MESA, Ariz.</B>—Casey McGehee knows catching isn't cut out for everyone. And while neither he nor the Cubs have officially ruled out future catching duties, the 22-year-old McGehee enters 2005 with an understanding of exactly what position he'll own for the time being.

Inside The Ivy: Heading into the 2005 season, what position are you being groomed toward? You played a little of both third base and catcher last season.

Casey McGehee: It is mostly third base at this point. Right now I'm just trying to get my legs back under me and work off the rust you build up in the offseason. We're currently working on fundamentals so that we can progress from there, but for the time being, I plan on being a full-time third baseman this season. After talking with Oneri Fleita and a couple of coaches, they decided it may be best for me to just work on swinging the bat and improving at the plate. Other than working in the field, that's most of what I'm doing this spring.

Inside The Ivy: Tell us a little about your first taste of catching last season.

Casey McGehee: It went all right; I ended up catching about 30 games. The experience was good because it gave me a new perspective of the game and opened up a new dimension. Even if I don't go back to catching, the experience will help me tremendously. The biggest thing was going to Spring Training and watching how those guys all go about the game. In that regard, that was the best thing for me.

Inside The Ivy: What are some of the techniques you picked up from watching the major league players?

Casey McGehee: The biggest thing was the kind of "mental club" their infield possessed. They get a ball and know how much time they have to make a play; they're not in a rush. On a routine groundball, it's all about just taking your time and making sure you make a good, solid throw. Sometimes you get out there and feel like you have to rush things. As the game gets faster, everything also slows down in some respects.

Inside The Ivy: What did your offseason consist of and what were some of the things you did to stay in shape and pass the time?

Casey McGehee: Well, I took a few weeks off to let my body recover from all the pains of a long season. My roommate and I, Matt Craig, went to the weight rooms and got some lifting in. Until January, we just did lifting and conditioning, but after New Year's Day, we started to work on hitting and getting our arms in shape to prepare for the spring.

Inside The Ivy: What are some of the other things you're currently working on this spring?

Casey McGehee: I'm working on getting better at going to my left side, because sometimes I have trouble with that and it's one thing I really want to concentrate on. Improving my footwork is important to me.

Inside The Ivy: Who are some of the coaches you've been working with so far this spring?

Casey McGehee: Jeff Huson is our roving infield instructor, and Steve McFarland, Bobby Dickerson and Trey Forkerway are a few guys that have given me some good input.

Inside The Ivy: I know you're a big reader of ITI. What message would you like to send to your fans in the Cub nation?

Casey McGehee: It's just awesome being a part of this organization. I got a chance to go to Chicago last year and see the way the fans embrace their team. There are a lot of diehard fans and it's great to see. I've talked to guys in other organizations that don't really feel the same way about their teams as I do mine. It's great knowing people are behind you.

Inside The Ivy: Thanks very much for joining us, Casey.

Casey McGehee: Have a good day.

Author's Note: McGehee hit .261 in 119 games at third base last season for Class-A Daytona. His 30 doubles finished tied for seventh in the Florida State League. McGehee was a 10th round draft pick out of Fresno State University in 2003.

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