Q & A with Hunter Brown

San Antonio infielder Hunter Brown will be a regular part of InsidethePark.com this season, writing in with journal entries throughout the course of the season. He sat down for a few minutes recently for a brief introductory Q & A session. Stay tuned to InsidethePark.com throughout the year to get a rare glimpse inside the life of a promising minor leager.

InsidethePark.com: How far away is your hometown from San Antonio?

Hunter Brown: I grew up in Houston so it's about a two-and-a-half hour drive. Once we start playing home games I'm sure my parents will be coming all the time.

ITP.com: What's been the key to the early season turnaround and the Missions recent hot play?

HB: The first couple days we got 20 something hits and we lost the first few games. The way we've been hitting the ball, it was just a matter of time. Combine good hitting, good defense and good pitching and we're real tough to beat

ITP.com: You played third base last year at Inland Empire, but have been asked to play second base a lot this year. How's that move gone, and did you grow up playing second base?

HB: I grew up playing shortstop, but played second base in high school and my freshman year in junior college. It's different to not play it for a couple years. I played shortstop from the age of five until my sophomore year of college. My junior year at Rice was my first year at third base.

So what position do you prefer?

HB: I would say probably third, but I enjoy playing second. I don't have a problem with it at all. It might just be that I'm more comfortable at third.

ITP.com: What's are the biggest differences between playing third base and second base?

HB: I really don't have too much of a problem with the turn (at second). The biggest difference is that third is more of a reactionary position. You don't really have a lot of ground to cover, there's no time. At second you have a lot of ground to cover. You move a lot more to your left than at third, and you have to have great footwork.

ITP.com: It took you a couple games to get your first hit, but you've gotten a couple base knocks in the past few games. How are you feeling at the plate?

HB: I feel really good. It's just that I'm not playing every day and I'm really having trouble getting into an every-day rhythm, and once I get that mental part of that down it will make things a lot easier. Preparation wise, that's been tough for me. Hopefully as the year goes on I can swing the bat a little more consistently and put up some better numbers.

ITP.com: What would you like to get out of this season? Anything in particular you'd like to improve upon?

HB: I'd like to get a lot of at bats, but that's going to be determined by how I swing the bat when I get in there. I'd like to be more consistent at the plate. Last year my power numbers were good, my average wasn't so good. I want to improve my consistency day to day, going 2-4 instead of 1-4. More singles, more base hits.

ITP.com: Have you noticed a big jump in the talent level from Single-A to Double-A? Most people refer to that as the toughest jump in the minors.

HB: I would say the competition doesn't seem like it's that much harder because it's the same guys we faced last year. The level of play is raised a little bit, but I don't see it as being as big a jump as people say so far.

ITP.com: Has there been any difference in playing in the Texas League this year and the California League last year?

HB: We've played a lot of one-run ballgames and it's been really exciting. The emotional level of the game is raised this year. There's been more electricity. It's been pretty fun. We haven't gotten a large number of fans, but it's been pretty good.

ITP.com: How tough was it on you and the rest of the team when Seattle traded away Glenn Bott and Ryan Ketchner, two guys who figured to be at the top of the Missions' pitching rotation?

HB: It's a bummer. It's a big bummer for me because Ketchner was my roommate and one of my best friends. I was pretty good friends with Bott too. They are both really good pitchers and we'd love to have them, but we've got some other guys who can step in there and help us out. It's just tough losing a couple of your buddies.

ITP.com: We know you guys bus around to all your road games in the Texas League. How hard is that?

HB: It's pretty brutal. Tonight we have a nine hour trip from El Paso to San Antonio and won't get there until nine in the morning.

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