Q&A with Binghamton's Mike Jacobs

In the middle of a six-game hitting streak, the Binghamton Mets' Mike Jacobs caught up with Inside Pitch's Bryan Hoch for a chat about his success in the Eastern League and his ongoing rise to the big leagues (Premium Q&A Content).

TRENTON, N.J. – It wasn't so long ago that Mike Jacobs appeared on the fast track to the majors, a sure-fire candidate to become Mike Piazza's understudy and – eventually – possible replacement.

After losing his 2004 season to a partially torn labrum and a cyst in his throwing shoulder, the Mets' 2003 Minor League Player of the Year is getting back on track.

Now 24, Jacobs has converted into a "catcher who plays a lot of first base," in his words, but he's actually letting his bat do the talking – Jacobs brought a six-game hitting streak into Saturday's game at Trenton, fresh off a 4-for-4, two-homer game on Thursday.

Jacobs caught up with Inside Pitch's Bryan Hoch for a chat about his success in the Eastern League and his ongoing rise to the big leagues:

Mike, obviously you've been on a tear lately. What's been going right for you?

I think it's probably that I'm being more selective. I think in the beginning, I fanned out and tried to do too much in my first go-round here or something, to actually come back a year later and go directly to the big leagues as soon as I got an at-bat. That's not the way it works here, so I had to relax and don't think about things I shouldn't have been thinking about. That's been the biggest key, being more middle of the road and being more selective.

Does your performance mean anything extra considering the comeback from injury, more than it might have otherwise?

I think so, especially after the year I had in '03 (Jacobs hit .329 with 17 home runs and 81 RBI). I always thought I'd hit, but you definitely like to see that start and not try to do too much with some things. We're two months into the season and I feel good. I've just got to keep working hard and see what happens.

When we talked in spring training, you were pretty confident that your bat was going to be there. Was there a point this season where it clicked and you said, 'Still got it?'

No, I just felt good, even since spring training. I was swinging the bat the way I like, and a lot of people told me to take it easy at first. That held me back a little, but I felt like I had a better start this year than any previous year. I don't know if that's because I'm happy to be back playing, or hard work, or both. I'm sure it's hard work but a little bit of both.

Looking back now, how difficult was it really to miss all of last year?

That was tough, especially coming off my big year where I would have been a Triple-A catcher and an everyday guy. It was disappointing; definitely disappointing.

What was the most disappointing part?

Probably knowing I would have been called up at some point during the year, and missing out on that. I'm definitely a big believer that things happen for a reason and, for whatever reason, it wasn't my time. I'm happy where I am now, and I have to go from there.

You've said in the past that you consider yourself a catcher who happens to be playing first base. Now that you've been converted, so to speak, what has surprised you about playing first base?

It's not anything that different. I had a little bit of time there [before 2005]. I like it. I like being able to play both positions - I enjoy getting back to catch, but I also enjoy playing first. It's easier on my legs, easier later in games and I feel better the next day. I'm looking forward to just learning to play there and learn the little ins and out of it.

The good thing is that [B-Mets coach] Dave [Hollins] has played a little bit of first and [manager] Jack [Lind]'s been real helpful too with some things. I'm happy out there, just playing and doing it.

You're very high on Dave Hollins. What makes him so valuable to this coaching staff?

I think it's because he thinks he's still a player. He's the first one to get in our faces and definitely let us know if we're not doing the things we should be, and if we're doing the things we should be. He feels young and he's not too far removed from the game; he's a guy who played a lot of baseball and believes in playing the way it's supposed to be. I think for me, it's been helpful just because he's a guy who experienced the big leagues and he's not just thinking like a coach. He thinks like a player and he goes about his coaching trying to instill the message he's got. I think that benefits the whole team.

Now that we're two months deep into 2005, what do you feel you've proven?

That I can still hit. I've definitely proven I can still hit and hopefully I'm proving that I deserve to be around. I've proven I can still play and I'll be there.

And possibly proven that you should be considered for a Triple-A promotion?

If that's the way it goes, then definitely. If it goes beyond that, then definitely that too. If not, I'll play here and see what I can do here.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nTRENTON, N.J. – It wasn't so long ago that Mike Jacobs appeared on the fast track to the majors, a sure-fire candidate to become Mike Piazza's understudy and – eventually – possible replacement.\r\n

\r\nAfter losing his 2004 season to a partially torn labrum and a cyst in his throwing shoulder, the Mets' 2003 Minor League Player of the Year is getting back on track. \r\n

\r\nNow 24, Jacobs has converted into a \"catcher who plays a lot of first base,\" in his words, but he's actually letting his bat do the talking – Jacobs brought a six-game hitting streak into Saturday's game at Trenton, fresh off a 4-for-4, two-homer game on Thursday.\r\n

\r\nJacobs caught up with Inside Pitch's Bryan Hoch for a chat about his success in the Eastern League and his ongoing rise to the big leagues:\r\n

\r\nMike, obviously you've been on a tear lately. What's been going right for you?\r\n

\r\nI think it's probably that I'm being more selective. I think in the beginning, I fanned out and tried to do too much in my first go-round here or something, to actually come back a year later and go directly to the big leagues as soon as I got an at-bat. That's not the way it works here, so I had to relax and don't think about things I shouldn't have been thinking about. That's been the biggest key, being more middle of the road and being more selective.\r\n

\r\nDoes your performance mean anything extra considering the comeback from injury, more than it might have otherwise?\r\n

\r\nI think so, especially after the year I had in '03 (Jacobs hit .329 with 17 home runs and 81 RBI). I always thought I'd hit, but you definitely like to see that start and not try to do too much with some things. We're two months into the season and I feel good. I've just got to keep working hard and see what happens.\r\n

\r\nWhen we talked in spring training, you were pretty confident that your bat was going to be there. Was there a point this season where it clicked and you said, 'Still got it?'\r\n

\r\nNo, I just felt good, even since spring training. I was swinging the bat the way I like, and a lot of people told me to take it easy at first. That held me back a little, but I felt like I had a better start this year than any previous year. I don't know if that's because I'm happy to be back playing, or hard work, or both. I'm sure it's hard work but a little bit of both.\r\n

\r\nLooking back now, how difficult was it really to miss all of last year?\r\n

\r\nThat was tough, especially coming off my big year where I would have been a Triple-A catcher and an everyday guy. It was disappointing; definitely disappointing.\r\n

\r\nWhat was the most disappointing part?\r\n

\r\nProbably knowing I would have been called up at some point during the year, and missing out on that. I'm definitely a big believer that things happen for a reason and, for whatever reason, it wasn't my time. I'm happy where I am now, and I have to go from there.\r\n

\r\nYou've said in the past that you consider yourself a catcher who happens to be playing first base. Now that you've been converted, so to speak, what has surprised you about playing first base?\r\n

\r\nIt's not anything that different. I had a little bit of time there [before 2005]. I like it. I like being able to play both positions - I enjoy getting back to catch, but I also enjoy playing first. It's easier on my legs, easier later in games and I feel better the next day. I'm looking forward to just learning to play there and learn the little ins and out of it. \r\n

\r\nThe good thing is that [B-Mets coach] Dave [Hollins] has played a little bit of first and [manager] Jack [Lind]'s been real helpful too with some things. I'm happy out there, just playing and doing it.\r\n

\r\nYou're very high on Dave Hollins. What makes him so valuable to this coaching staff? \r\n

\r\nI think it's because he thinks he's still a player. He's the first one to get in our faces and definitely let us know if we're not doing the things we should be, and if we're doing the things we should be. He feels young and he's not too far removed from the game; he's a guy who played a lot of baseball and believes in playing the way it's supposed to be. I think for me, it's been helpful just because he's a guy who experienced the big leagues and he's not just thinking like a coach. He thinks like a player and he goes about his coaching trying to instill the message he's got. I think that benefits the whole team.\r\n

\r\nNow that we're two months deep into 2005, what do you feel you've proven?\r\n

\r\nThat I can still hit. I've definitely proven I can still hit and hopefully I'm proving that I deserve to be around. I've proven I can still play and I'll be there.\r\n

\r\nAnd possibly proven that you should be considered for a Triple-A promotion?\r\n

\r\nIf that's the way it goes, then definitely. If it goes beyond that, then definitely that too. 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