Q & A: Greg Sain

A year after belting a Mobile BayBears record 28 homers in a single season Greg Sain has hit only one in the first five weeks of 2005. Not one to make excuses, Sain owns up to the lack of power, but no one could call Sain on making an excuse when the word 'cyst' is part of that excuse. MadFriars Managing Editor James Renwick talked with the slugger about position changes, possible surgery, and what it's like to lose two months in the offseason.

MadFriars: You're numbers probably aren't where you like them, but how have you felt so far this season?

Greg Sain: Not too bad, obviously I'm off to a slow start, but I don't feel that bad physically. I'm coming off having a cyst in my left shoulder, so I couldn't work out for the last two months of the offseason. It set me back a little but the troubles I'm having aren't physical, maybe the power is down a little because of that, but otherwise it's not a physical thing.

MadFriars: A cyst?

Greg Sain: Yeah, it's a cyst in my left shoulder, I'm taking cortisone shots trying to shrink it, but for awhile there it was pinching a nerve and an artery. It's still there, it's smaller now, but I'm really hoping I don't have to have surgery. If the cortisone doesn't work it'll have to be surgery, and if I do I'm hoping to put it off until the offseason.

MadFriars: How long has it been there?

Greg Sain: I really don't know, it just started bothering me in the offseason, but the doctor said it might have been there for awhile, there isn't really any way to tell.

MadFriars: Lefties have been real tough on you this year, any particular reason?

Greg Sain: I hadn't even noticed that they've gotten the better part of me, obviously a right handed hitter needs to be able to hit lefties, and I will, but I just hadn't noticed that I wasn't hitting them.

MadFriars: After bouncing between third and first and catcher you've been exclusively used at first base this year, is that more comfortable for you?

Greg Sain: Well you know it's nice to know where I'm going to walk out to everyday, it's kind of refreshing to not have to look at the lineup card and check was position is next to my name. I'm fine with it, I'm comfortable over at first base, but I'd like to be universal and be able to play 3rd if needed.

MadFriars: I noticed you didn't mention catching as part of that ‘being universal' idea.

Greg Sain: I didn't mind catching, but what I didn't like was doing it on a here and there basis. I just think that catching is something you really have to do consistently to be good at. It's the toughest position to play and to be good at it you really have to play there every day.

MadFriars: What would a good 2005 be for you?

Greg Sain: If I didn't improve on all my numbers I'd be disappointed, I'm coming back to Double-A and so this year they'll have a good book on me, and they won't give in to me as much, so I could see the power numbers being down, but since I'm at the same level I really feel like I should improve on last year's season.

MadFriars: Were you disappointed that you went back to Mobile this year?

Greg Sain: Of course, you never want to repeat, but these are the cards I'm dealt. I took it as a challenge, for the Padres and the 29 other teams I'm available to play for. This is a level I've had success at. One of the weirdest parts of this year so far is that is seems like an extension of last year. There's nothing I can do except go out and play hard everyday. If I play well I can get in a position where they need me at a higher level. If you look at last year there were only three guys who moved up from Double-A, and only two position players. There's a little log jam at Triple-A, and at Double-A too, so I'm just going out there and playing hard and trying to hit and prove to the team that I belong at the next level.

MadFriars: Tye Waller has talked about how he knew you had power, but didn't realize how much you had. Does that affect the way you come into an at bat, are you working toward more contact, and are you willing to give up some of that power for a higher average?

Greg Sain: Definitely, I've showed that I can hit for power, this year I want to show I can be more consistent, that I can be relied on to play everyday rather than once and awhile. I'm just working on not being as much of a free swinger and making better contact. I don't know if it's my swing as much as my approach, not trying to gear up as much. I need to get good pitches, and swing at good pitches. Last year I found myself swinging myself into outs, so this year I'm trying to not give away at bats.

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