MadFriars' Interview: Andy Parrino

TUCSON: Andy Parrino, 25, was taken in the 26th round of the 2007 draft by the San Diego Padres out of Le Moyne College in upstate New York which at the time was a Division I school.

Players that aren't top draft picks have to work for every opportunity and make the most of them when they arrive. Last year after seeing limited time in Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore in 2009, Parrino got one of those opportunites when injuries hit the AA San Antonio roster.

To a man nearly every player on last year's Missions roster believed he was the most underrated individual on the roster. This season in Tucson he has been his best season yet hitting .343/.412/.503 going into Friday night's game.

Most players that we run across in the minors put in substantial time on the field, in the cages and weight rooms before the games starts, but the switch-hitting Parrino, who has seen action at four different positions - but the majority at shortstop and second - does an incredible amount of work, what separates Parrino is that he does more, almost too much.

"I don't know if anyone works harder, in fact he works too much," Tucson manager Terry Kennedy said on his switch-hitting utility infielder.

"He is the fittest guy and works hard on his baseball skills and body. He can play the whole infield and both corners."

Last year you had a good season in San Antonio. We talked to your teammates and nearly too a man they said that you were the most valuable player because you could do so many things. What were the reasons behind your success?

Andy Parrino: Pretty much doing what I am doing now. Come to the park, stick to my routine and work hard. Try to get better everyday defensively and offensively. Just try to help the team win everyday.

I've watched quite a few people take infield and I don't think I have ever seen anyone run full speed in between every single activity. You are pretty serious out there.

Andy Parrino: Yeah you have to take your defensive work just as serious as your offensive work. I try to get every single part of my game down.

You were a 26th round pick in the 2007 draft and you've gotten better every year as the competition has gotten better. Why?

Andy Parrino: I just don't stop working. Every year I've been fortunate to have a great coaching staff that has given me an opportunity to show what I have.

What has been your biggest improvement since you were drafted professionally?

Andy Parrino: Just knowing my body and what it takes to get ready. Also having a set routine really helps me out to prepare mentally and physically. Trying to really have a plan mentally both in the field and at the plate. Playing professionally is really much more mentally challenging than most people realize.

How many hours do you put in before the game?

Andy Parrino: For a seven o'clock game I am usually here by 12:30.

And is that after you have been to lift?

Andy Parrino: I usually hit the gym before I get to the park, but nothing really too crazy especially with the weather here. I learned that last year in San Antonio. It takes time to get used to understanding what your body can do and I learned that more as I get older.

Its really important to let the game come to you and not force to many things.

You have been playing a lot of shortstop this year and you played there quite a bit last season in San Antonio as well. I assume that is your most comfortable position because you played it growing up?

Andy Parrino: I think that is a position the more you play there the more comfortable and better you will be there. Its a pretty hard position to fill in at if you aren't sued to it.

I know some of the other positions that is the case with me, the more I am there the more confident I feel.

Just for the record how many positions do you play?

Andy Parrino: I've played everywhere in my professional career except catcher.

And maybe that will come up one day?

Andy Parrino: I'm sure it will. It seems like to me that shortstop might be the easiest for you because you don't have to deal with the angles that you do at second. Is that true?

Andy Parrino: I played shortstop my whole life so that has helped me. Its made other positions a little easier because I can get to the ball and then deal with the angles.

What is the toughest position for you to play?

Andy Parrino: I've only played about half a season in the outfield so I am still getting used to balls hit right at me and those over my head. But I'm getting there.

Besides playing all these different positions you are also a switch-hitter so it must help having one of the coaches - Coach Skube - can throw BP left-handed because so many times you don't really get that look to help you out with your right-handed at-bats.

Andy Parrino: Everyone always gets on me that I take too many swings but ever since I was little my dad told me you can't split your swings if you want to be a switch-hitter. You're two people and that is how I see myself; as a right-handed hitter and a left-handed hitter.

I don't split it, I have to double it.

Are you two totally different hitters from the right and the left? Do you handle different pitches better from each side?

Andy Parrino: Sure. Some pitches from different sides are different. My main goal is to keep it simple and try to make it feel the same from both sides but that doesn't always work.

Is it tougher to keep the right side going because you don't see as many lefties?

Andy Parrino: Yes, but I really try to work on it as much as the left. I think you ask any switch-hitter you never completely feel the same from both sides at the same time.

You are close. You're a late round pick that made it all the way here one step from the big leagues. What is your main goal this year?

Andy Parrino: Just doing all the little things. Getting bunts down, playing hit and run, moving guys along and doing what is asked for by the manager.

Hopefully someone up there will notice and I will get the call.

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