Spring Q&A with Chase Lambin

As camp breaks, long time farm hand Chase Lambin will stay behind in St. Lucie unsure of what lies ahead. As a utility player, Lambin can fill many roles, but still falls short on necessary consistency. Inside Pitch caught up with the 27-year-old veteran on Sunday Night.

Inside Pitch Magazine: How would you rate your spring training performance?

Chase Lambin: I thought I did well. I worked on a lot of things in the off-season and I wanted it to carry over into this season. The way I felt at the plate was great. I found my comfort zone. I worked a lot defensively and was pleased with my work.

Inside Pitch: What did you hope to accomplish in camp?

Lambin: I wanted to have my swing back where I wanted. I wanted my defense to tighten up. I wanted to play everywhere in the field and get comfortable. I also wanted to feel good from both sides of the plate and find consistency on both sides.

Inside Pitch: After a rough 2006, how did you regroup this spring?

Lambin: I'm going to extended spring training with the hope that I will get a call up. I'm not going to be in New Orleans unless someone gets hurts. I'm going back to St. Lucie on Tuesday. Last year was tough for me. I got off to a rough start in Norfolk, and it snowballed from there. It was something I went through and I think I learned from it. This game is humbling and I think that's what happened last year. It happens for a reason and I figure it won't happen again. I have to take the hard times and move on.

Inside Pitch: How did you change your swing technique?

Lambin: I shortened up my swing, my step, kept the ball up the middle of the field and worked on both sides of the plate. I worked using the whole field. I wanted to get back to my college days when I could go line to line anytime. I got pull happy last year and I lost the bat control to use the whole field. I worked on that and tried to find my swing and regain my approach. I tried to make as much advancement as possible.

Inside Pitch: As a switch hitter, you have displayed more power on the left side of the plate. What steps do you take to balance production from each side?

Lambin: It's always been that way even since college. I have more power from the left side. I'm two different hitters from both sides of the plate. I just approach it like it is two different styles of hitting. (From the) right side, I'm more of a spray hitter, I find the gaps. From the left side, I've got more power and get more lift on the ball. I don't worry about hitting home runs from the right because I don't have the steps for it. I try to take the same approach on both sides, but naturally I get less at-bats from the right side. It's tough.

Inside Pitch: Have you ever considered forfeiting one side of the plate?

Lambin: It has crosses my mind, especially when I've had a bad time at the right side. But I think it's helped me over the years and it's made me more valuable. It definitely helps me as a platoon player. I've been doing it for so long though, that it could affect me as a player if I quit one side. Also, it wouldn't be too fun facing a lefty from the left for the first time in 12 years.

Inside Pitch: What kind of hitter would you like to be?

Lambin: I just want to be an all-around good hitter. I want to be gap to gap, doubles and line drivers, a hitter with good power. I don't want to be a hitter that could just run into a home run. I want to see pitches, get hits, and work the count. What I keep striving to do is keep using the whole field from both sides of the plate. I don't want to be considered a power hitter or a contact hitter; I'd like to have a bit of a mix.

Inside Pitch: As a utility player, you are all over the field. What area of your defense received the most attention this spring?

Lambin: I wanted to improve my throwing and footwork. My mental game and decision making needed work. Maybe I got too lackadaisical, but I felt really good building it up this year. It's tough when I'm playing somewhere different all the time. I came into camp with a big focus on my defense at every position. Up the middle, it's always going to be a little tougher, because there is no room for mistakes. I make one bobble and it's an error. I worked with Coach (Kevin) Morgan and I came out feeling really good.

Inside Pitch: As an older player how do you keep fighting off younger guys and keep the coaches' eyes on you?

Lambin: I think I've always had a strong work ethic, which they see, and I haven't changed that. I'm not a guy who goes through the motions. I don't have the physical ability to do that. I'm not a tools guy, I'm a grinder. I have to work my best everyday. I take pride in the fact that I'll hit more, take more ground balls and lift more weights than anybody else to try and separate myself. The coaches see that and it keeps me sharp and opening their eyes.

Inside Pitch: What survival skills are required to make it up through the Minor Leagues?

Lambin: I think it's consistency. It's not the talent. If you don't have talent you wouldn't be playing ball anyway. Teams play seven nights a week and every night I've got to be sharp. I think with getting older, I've got to do more to keep my body in shape and to stay ready. The difference between a big leaguer and the minor leaguer is how ready and consistent they are mentally. It's about confidence and making the right decisions at the right time.

Inside Pitch: Despite being in extended spring training, what are your goals in 2007?

Lambin: Anything can happen in my situation. But the Mets have been great by letting me stay around, work out, and perhaps go to New Orleans if someone gets hurt. It's a great sign of respect to me which I appreciate. I've never had this much uncertainty before, but I'm going to keep working and hopefully it will work out. I'd love to stay with the Mets if they had a spot for me. They've treated me well, got me at-bats. I've always dreamed of playing in New York.

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