Spencer Adapting Nicely to Cubs

Left-handed hitting outfielder Matt Spencer has moved around a lot in his young professional career. Drafted by the Phillies in 2007, Spencer was no sooner to High-A before he was dealt to the Oakland Athletics in a trade for Joe Blanton.

After spending just over a year in the A's system, Spencer was on the move again – to the Chicago Cubs as one of three prospects acquired in an off-season trade for infielders Jake Fox and Aaron Miles in December of 2009.

But Spencer, 24, has been a welcome addition to the Cubs' system. He has 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 83 games this season, primarily at Class AA Tennessee.

InsideTheIvy.com recently caught up with Spencer, an eastern Tennessee native, for a Q&A about his first season with the Cubs, and more.

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Q: How do you find the Cubs organization in your first year with them, and how difficult of a transition has it been from the A's?

A: To tell you the truth, I feel like all three organizations I've been with have been pretty much the same. Everybody wants to win, everybody wants to work hard and get better. It's pretty funny how similar each spring training was and how the season has gone. It's not that big of a difference. Obviously you have maybe different little things and how they're done. But overall, it's been the same. You still go out and play baseball.

Q: Has it been kind of tiring having to change clubs twice in your first three years?

A: It's not tiring; it's just different. You've got to go into a new clubhouse or meet new people. You're friends with people and then you have to leave, so you don't get to talk with them much. That's the toughest part: getting to know new guys and then having to leave guys that you've been playing with for a while. But other than that, it's been a new opportunity.

Q: Your numbers haven't take a huge hit since joining the Cubs, but can constantly being on the move and going through the process of adjusting to new settings be kind of taxing on you mentally?

A: I don't feel that way. I guess I'm a pretty laid back guy. I didn't really worry about that that much. I feel like the (transition has) been OK for me.

Q: You're from Tennessee and played high school ball in Morristown. Do you have a lot of friends and family that come out to watch you play in Knoxville?

A: Yeah, I'm actually living at home this summer. My house is only 25 to 30 minutes from the field. I have a lot of family and friends that live here, so it's been great getting to see everybody I haven't seen in awhile and to have a lot of friends and family at the games.

Q: You started this season on the DL. Are you feeling 100 percent now?

A: It was my left big toe. It just got hit with a slider, a cutter or whatever in spring training and fractured the bone there. I really haven't felt it since I wore a boot for three weeks. Once I came out of the boot, they kept saying it was probably going to hurt, but I haven't really felt it since then. It's been great.

Q: Once you returned, how were you able to go about not trying to make up for all the time you missed in one at-bat?

A: I went to Daytona and in my first at-bat there, I hit a home run. So I wasn't really worried about getting off to a slow start after that. But I figured if you're going off numbers, obviously I'm not going to have as many games played or at-bats. I just figured it would all work out.

Q: You've hit 12 home runs this season after clubbing 19 a year ago for the A's. Do you consider yourself a power hitter?

A: Yeah, I would consider myself a power hitter definitely. I've always been a bigger guy (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) and a strong kid, so I always expected to have my fair share of home runs.

Q: You've hit more home runs than doubles this year. Is there a gap-to-gap part of your swing that's just not showing up right now?

A: I feel like I've gotten away from going to the opposite field a little, but I don't know. If I hit one in the gap lately and I really catch it, it usually goes over instead of going for a double. I haven't hit as many live drives in the gap as last year, but then again, this is a different area. I feel like last year, the parks were a lot different than the parks in the Southern League, so that might be (a reason).

Q: What are some things you are working on this summer at Tennessee?

A: Pitch selection is a big key and that's the biggest thing I'm working on. Other than that, I'm working on staying through balls and hitting pitchers' mistakes.

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