Padres Prospect Interview: Paul McAnulty

Just before the season began, San Diego Padres prospect Paul McAnulty was labeled as the John Kruk within the Padres system. It was not out of disrespect for the former Friar and more famous Phillies first baseman, but the knock on McAnulty was his weight set on a 5-10 frame. McAnulty worked hard in the offseason to reduce his weight and become more fleet of foot in the field.

Whatever he did, it certainly is working. McAnulty has been on a season long tear. He is hitting .289 and has been clutch to the Storm's assault on the rest of the league with a team leading 45 RBI's.

Paul McAnulty came back from a right quadriceps injury and has not been taken out of the lineup since.

Count that primary among McAnulty's many goals. His objective, which he has met with flying colors, is to stay in the lineup.

"Usually I am the first one to get in," McAnulty says of his routine. "I am usually here around noon. It isn't about who gets to the ballpark first. Just coming out here and stay in the lineup everyday. That is my main goal. Stay in the lineup everyday."

When Storm Manager Rick Renteria is making out the lineup card for the day, he is hard pressed to sit one of his hottest hitters.

But McAnulty downplays his hitting. Every sentence ends the same. He may be the hot hitter now, but he wants to maintain that through the end of the year and beyond.

"I really don't pay attention to (stats)," McAnulty said. "I am just looking to come to the park everyday and get better everyday and put up consistent AB's and good AB's. Just trying to put up good AB's. I am trying to out duel that pitcher. It's a battle out there. It is not an easy thing to do."

Watching McAnulty attack the ball, most would think it is easy for him. His prowess at the plate has been evident this year and it is clear his work this offseason paid off. He dropped about 20 pounds so he could become more indispensable and play the outfield.

McAnulty feared he would only be viewed as a first baseman and thus be potentially forced out of the lineup. Now that he is slimmer he has options.

His fielding remains one of the areas he focuses on during pre-game workouts. Similar to his hitting, he meets the task with a sense of pride. He is always eager to prove the doubters wrong and knows he must put in the time to be rewarded.

"I am never happy," McAnulty confides. "I am always looking to get better. I am out here early everyday trying to do something everyday whether it be hitting or fielding."

And as the Storm fight for second half supremacy within their division, McAnulty reminds us that it is not just him looking to improve:

"We are all out here everyday trying to get better.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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