Q & A with Hunter Brown

InsidethePark caught up with San Antonio Missions infielder Hunter Brown this afternoon to get an update on his progress this year at Double-A. A third baseman last year at Inland Empire, Brown has been asked to play second base as well this year and often had to split time in the process. He talked with us about how that adjustment has gone in this InsidethePark.com exclusive Q & A.

InsidethePark.com: How've things been going?

Hunter Brown: Things are going okay. I've been up and down. Haven't been getting much luck. I feel like I'm hitting a lot of balls right at people.


ITP.com: You went on a pretty good hot-streak over the last couple weeks. What adjustments did you make from when you were struggling earlier in the season?

HB: I was being more aggressive. It seems like at Double-A the (pitchers) throw a lot more strikes. I think I got kind of into a take mode. I was getting down in the count a lot early in the year, so I decided to get more aggressive and hit balls earlier in the count.


ITP.com: Any other changes?

HB: The hitting coach Gary Thurman did a little something in my swing. I had a little loop in my swing that he helped me fix.


ITP.com: When you say "loop," what do you mean?

HB: When you swing your bat right, it stays on the level that the ball is coming in on for a long time. My swing wasn't staying in the zone for a long time. I was fouling off a lot of pitches because of it. (Thurman) helped me even that out and it helped me get more line drives.


ITP.com: Tell us more about your relationship with Thurman. After all, he's a guy who played in parts of nine big league seasons.

HB: He was my manager in Wisconsin and I liked him as a manager but I think I like him even more as a hitting coach because he works real well with the guys. He picks out little things in your swing that helps you get going. It's been good.


This year you've had to split time between third base and second base and not been the every-day player you were in the past. Is that something you can ever get used to, and how are you adjusting?

HB: It's pretty frustrating. I've never been in a situation where I haven't had the starting job. It's different. Especially when you have a bad day and you want to improve on it and then you're not in the lineup the next day. I've really enjoyed playing different positions, though. I've enjoyed playing second base and felt like I've done a pretty good job there.


ITP.com: The Missions went through an ugly stretch there last week, scoring just once in 44 innings at one point. Got any explanations as to why that might have been?

HB: We faced a couple pretty tough pitchers and we just haven't had much luck offensively as a team. It's really happened to everyone on the team. Once you start hitting line drives at people and you realize what you are doing isn't enough, you have the tendency to start over swinging.


ITP.com: Has it been a hard adjustment form the California League to the Texas League with the longer bus rides, etc.?

HB: In the Cal League we commuted a lot so we'd play 20 minutes away and come back to our apartments at night. We only went up north two or three times a year so it wasn't bad. Here we've got some rides to places like El Paso that are up to 10 hours. It definitely helps to be close with your teammates. Last year one of the main reasons we won was because we were so close and had great team chemistry. They are kind of like your family after a while. We've got a good group of guys and it's only going to get better as the season goes on.


ITP.com: Any changes from this year to last?

HB: It's different for me because there are guys that are married and have families now.


ITP.com: After a month-and-a-half, have you noticed a big jump in the level of play from High-A to Double-A?

HB: I just think that pitchers are more around the plate and more aggressive. You have to be more aggressive at the plate also. It's definitely a more advanced level of play, but I feel like once you get used to the speed of the game it flows just like any other game would.


ITP.com: What kind of hitter do you see yourself as? Sounds like you've taken a John Olerud type of approach to the plate in your career.

HB: I've been pretty selective in my career. I try to get a ball that I can do something with. Early in the count I don't want to swing at anything in the corners because they are tough pitches to hit.

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