Camp's Versatility on Display

Matt Camp can play a little of everywhere. The position most associated with him since being drafted by the Cubs is the outfield, but Camp has seen playing time at second base and plans to be seeing plenty more in 2008.

The Cubs drafted Camp, 23, from North Carolina State in the 13th round of the 2006 draft. He played in 129 games a season ago between Class-A Peoria, High-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee – mostly in centerfield with some reps at second.

The INF/OF batted .259 with 25 extra-base hits and stole 42 bases.

With the start of the minor league regular season less than two weeks away and most players about to learn their initial 2008 destination, Camp figures to break spring training penciled in at second base somewhere in the organization.

"I talked to (Cubs Minor League Field Coordinator Dave) Bialas and he wants me to stick at second," Camp said. "He came over to me in BP and asked me if I'd be interested in working in the infield. He wants me to work out there."

Camp himself would prefer to play as many positions as possible.

"Anywhere but first, catcher or pitcher," Camp says of the positions he's willing to experiment with. "If they ever needed anybody to play third or short, I know I could. They try to get you to work (around the field) sort of as a ‘just in case' policy."

That's probably a good thing because Camp doesn't have the power of a prospect like Josh Vitters, or the arm strength of an outfielder like Kyler Burke.

But the Cubs know Camp can play at least two positions creditably and do some of the little things well, such as running the bases and drawing walks.

That makes Camp a serviceable position player.

"He's a gamer," Cubs Vice President of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita said of Camp. "He can play a few different positions and aside from that, he's just a great kid."

With the bat, Camp is looking for a more productive start to 2008.

He was hitting below the Mendoza Line through the first month of last season at Peoria before working out a few kinks both mentally and physically.

Among them, he had to pick himself back up after getting frustrated and down on himself early in the season. He is a high-tempo player that admits he wants to do something with the bat every time up, and that's not always a good thing.

"I would like to be more relaxed," Camp said. "I've talked to all the instructors about calming down. You're not going to get a hit or get on base every time. I think sometimes I feel that holds me back. I just need to take a step back and realize things are going to happen. You're going to have your highs and lows."

Camp also worked last year to keep his hands up and stay above the ball.

The adjustments he made were never more on display than in the second half at Daytona, where he batted .311 with eight doubles in 30 games following a promotion from Peoria.

Camp was eventually promoted again to Tennessee, where injuries had begun to take their toll on the Double-A squad.

"When I was struggling (at Peoria), I never thought I would have gone up to Double-A that same year," Camp said. "But things started to turn around, doors opened, and I had to step through them. I didn't get to play as much as I would have liked, but it was still a good experience. Going up was great and I got to cover a lot of ground."

That's precisely what Camp is doing now, and the more ground to cover, the better.

"I enjoy playing (different) positions and it kind of keeps it mixed up," he said. "You don't get caught in one position. It keeps a balance."

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