Spring Training Q&A: Ryan Harvey

<B>MESA, Ariz.</B> - Name any particular aspect of Ryan Harvey's game and the 2003 first round pick will tell you, "I'm working on it."

Inside The Ivy: Ryan, what are some of the things you are currently working on this spring?

Ryan Harvey: Right now it's all about getting your body back in shape for the season ahead, and hitting, running and throwing.

Inside The Ivy: What aspect of your game are you stressing improvement on the most at this point?

Ryan Harvey: Every part. There isn't just one thing that I can say, "Well, I'd like to get better at this." Every aspect of the game that you can possibly think of is what I'm trying to improve on right now: throwing, arm strength, accuracy, speed, defense, hitting, you name it.

Inside The Ivy: Who are some of the coaches and instructors you have been working with this spring?

Ryan Harvey: It's not any one or two guys but people from everywhere. I don't know how many hitting coaches there are exactly. The main guy I work with in the outfield is (roving instructor) Vince Coleman. Other than that, there aren't too many coaches specifically working with just the outfielders.

Inside The Ivy: You finished last season on a roll, hitting four home runs in the Northwest League Championship Series. Do you bring that momentum with you into this year?

Ryan Harvey: You know, I really don't. I'm somewhat of the mindset that whatever happens happens. There's no real momentum going into spring training; you just take it day by day and whatever happens will happen.

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?

Ryan Harvey: I worked out pretty much every day and went fishing a lot. The last two months before I came to spring training I spent working out with my strength and conditioning coach in Florida. I was working on my hitting every day as well.

Inside The Ivy: How are you health-wise as you enter 2005? We know of the hamstring injury last season. How did the injury occur?

Ryan Harvey: Well, I was in a game and hit a ball to the gap, and I pulled it as I was rounding first. I rehabbed for about three weeks and pulled it again when I was running sprints. Two years ago in an instructional camp, I injured my shins. We were out here in Arizona and standing around all day in spikes. The hard surface pretty much did my shins in at the time.

Inside The Ivy: Let's talk for a moment about the steroid scandal in baseball. Many folks have said that baseball players are being told by outside influences as early as high school that they need steroids to stay ahead of the game. What are your thoughts on this whole mess?

Ryan Harvey: I don't know if I knew anybody that was approached with steroids, and I was never told by anyone who said, "I have this," or, "This can help you run faster." I had no idea about any of it until just recently when I saw everyone talking about it on television. They're making good strides to get rid of it now. In the minor leagues, they do three random tests throughout the year, and they should be doing the same in the majors.

Inside The Ivy: Tell us about the adjustment from playing center field in high school to one of the corner spots last season.

Ryan Harvey: I had never played the outfield until high school. I started in left and then went to center and eventually right. You know how they put the stronger arms in right? That's pretty much how I became a right fielder.

Inside The Ivy: You expressed a lot of interest in the Cubs, Royals and Devil Rays on draft day two years ago. What attracted you the most to those three clubs?

Ryan Harvey: For one thing, everyone wants to get picked first just to say, "I was picked first." What made it even better was the Devil Rays were a hometown team, so those were the only two reasons I wanted them to pick me. When you look at their player development, though, it's not really all that good. Looking back, I'm happy they didn't pick me. The Cubs have some of the best people in baseball and I am real pleased they picked me.

Inside The Ivy: Tell us a little about the ceremony last week when you and your teammates from Boise were given your 2004 championship rings.

Ryan Harvey: Both the teams from Boise and Daytona were there since we both won championships last year. We all ate and had a good meal. The owner of the Daytona Cubs (Andy Rayburn) and all the coaches congratulated them, passed out their rings, and then did the same for us. That was about it. There were some people from both cities that came out. When you play so many games in a season, sometimes you think, "God, the season has been long," and your body is worn out. But for us to win the championship, all of us were glad to be playing hard and to have it. It was great.

Harvey hit .268 for the Hawks last season in 58 games. He hit 14 home runs, slugged .485, and recorded a 16-game hitting streak from Aug. 12 to Sep. 1.

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