Q & A with Hunter Brown

With the Texas League All-Star break now just days away, InsidethePark's Joe Ruiz made it a point to catch up with San Antonio infielder Hunter Brown to get his thoughts on the first half of the season. Check out what the versatile player had to say about his move back to third base, his plans for the all-star break and his hopes for the second half of the year in this InsidethePark exclusive.

InsideThePark.com: With Greg (Dobbs) getting the call to Tacoma this morning, you're going back to third. You had been pegged for second (base). Where do you feel more comfortable?

Hunter Brown: Right now, I'd have to say second base since I've played quite a few games in a row there. The only difference is I have to make a longer throw there so I just have to get my throws down. They felt pretty good (in practice Thursday afternoon). I just have to get it to where I don't have to think about it anymore.

ITP.com: How do you feel being in the second spot in the lineup?

HB: I feel great. It feels great in the second spot. You get at least four at-bats per game which is a good thing since you can get into a groove and you know you're going to see more fastballs since you have the three-hole guy behind you. They're not going to try and pitch around you.

ITP.com: Things have been kind of tough lately, what's the feeling like in the clubhouse?

HB: Well, we're really not too down. I mean, considering how we're doing right now, we're playing hard. Things just aren't going our way, but we know that we have the team to win. It's just a matter of finding the right way of doing things on the field or finding some inspiration from somewhere else. We're just going to finish up the first half, play hard and hopefully come out in the second half and get it going.

ITP.com: Speaking of that, you had the same type of situation at (Advanced-A) Inland Empire last season. You have a good core of the same players here now. Does it feel natural to go out and do the same thing as last year?

HB: You know, it kind of does. But you don't want to ever assume anything in this game. The worst thing you can do is assume things in this game. We're going to come back in the second half, set a goal as a team like we did last year - how many wins are we going to try to get in the second half - and we're just going to mark them down; every one we get. It's what we did last year and hopefully we can pull together as a team and start winning some games.

ITP.com: Can you start feeling like you're trying too hard at a time like this?

HB: Yeah, I think anytime you struggle, you try to do too much. Especially if the team's not hitting and a guy is in scoring position, you just want to get a home run and get the guy in or do something like that. That's just how the game is. Once we all start jelling and we all start taking care of our own business, some guy's going to have a bad day and we're going to pick him up. Right now, we're having a lot of guys that aren't very consistent and I'm in there, too. It's just tough right now and you just have to get through these tough times, but we'll be okay.

ITP.com: You talked about playing hard and playing the right way. Is that something you get from the organization a lot?

HB: Well, I think our organization is pretty unique in the fact that they really take pride in winning and that's something they preach from day one in Spring Training and they don't really accept anything less than 100 percent on the field. I think that just being in this organization, the guys know that when we play for the Mariners, we play hard. We want to play hard. You know what, it's more fun to play hard anyway because day-to-day you want to know that even if you came up short, you'll go out and get them the next day.

ITP.com: Last time we talked, you just had that off day after the long road trip and you said you went out to the lake on your day off, what are you going to do with your all-star break?

HB: I'm going to go back to Houston and I'm going to hang out with some of my friends and relax and just forget about baseball for a few days and clear my head, set some goals for the second half and get it going.

ITP.com: Speaking of Houston, was it a little tough to see Rice (Hunter's alma mater) get eliminated (from the College World Series regionals) so early?

HB: Yeah, it was tough, but you know, losing a lot of games to Texas (the University of Texas) this year, you kind of sensed it early. I'm sure they played hard. I haven't had a chance to talk to any of those guys, but a lot of them got drafted high, so I'm happy for them that they get to further their careers in pro baseball.

Brown didn't see much action in his first game back at third. He had only one assist in the field during San Antonio's 6-3 victory against the Arkansas Travelers, but he did hit his 11th double of the season and stole his seventh base as he finished 2-3 and scored one run.

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