Padres prospect interview: Jordan Pickens

The beginning of his year was delayed due to shoulder problems and after a tough start Jordan Pickens is starting to get in the swing of things, raising his average towards respectability. Even when he was struggling, Pickens was still driving in runs.

By hitting .292 through the first 12 games of July, Jordan Pickens has steadily raised his average to .236. Twenty-two of his 50 hits have gone for extra bases and he has 40 RBI's, aided by his .270 batting average with runners in scoring position. On June 4, Pickens was batting a scant .165.

Stats through Tuesday, June 11.

Talk about the shoulder injury early in the season and how it is feeling today:

Jordan Pickens: It doesn't really both me when I swing. All in all it feels pretty good. I missed probably about the first month of the season because of cortisone shots but right now it feels good.

Have you had any flare-ups and what are the precautions you can take going forward to stay healthy through the whole season.

Jordan Pickens: Slowly, they want to make sure I can stay healthy throughout the season. Renteria has talked quite a bit with me about being healthy and if my arm is bothering me at all, let him know and I will take a day off from throwing.

I have just had some inflammation and cortisone shots to kill that and it was getting my shoulder ready to throw again. The rehab wasn't doing table work but was more doing a throwing program and working slowly into getting back into throwing again.

How frustrating has this shoulder business been for you and what is the prospect of it moving forward through your career.

Jordan Pickens: It is frustrating but it is pretty much going to be the way it is going to be. If I am going to play baseball my shoulder is going to be a factor. I just have to take care of it.

With me it is not so much one throw. It is the mechanics were pretty bad when I came from spring training. I actually got together with (pitching coach Dave) Rajisch and worked on my mechanics and worked on staying closed – keeping my lower half closed. I think it is more on myself to be consistent because it is not going to be one throw that does it. It is going to be multiple throws that do it, trying to do too much which creates bad mechanics.

Is it common for a pitching coach to work with an outfielder?

Jordan Pickens: It is not common at all.

What did you do this past offseason to prepare. You were knocked out of the lineup in the final two weeks of the season last year.

Jordan Pickens: I didn't really get on the field until the middle of January. Last offseason I got on the field in December and I think I wore myself out by the time the midway point came in the season. There was some stuff during the season where I got sidetracked and it was tough to stay focused.

Is there a possibility that you worked out too hard in preparation for the season?

Jordan Pickens: Right now it is not hurting and when I missed the first part of the season it wasn't hurting. I just had some inflammation in there. Any inflammation that gets in there that is a significant amount I am going to need some time and medicine to take care of because my shoulder is pieced together. Even when I am lifting it doesn't bother me. I don't feel any weakness. I lift accordingly so I don't put any stress on it. I don't think it has anything to do with too much.

You began the year playing a lot as the designated hitter. Is it tough to stay in tune with the game when you are in that role?

Jordan Pickens: It depends. I try and stay pretty focused on the game and that is how you have to go with it. Even if you are sitting on the bench – those are your teammates out there. You are playing a game but you are going to battle with them.

I would rather play in the field, without a doubt.

How has the timing on your swing been through the beginning of the process and where is it today?

Jordan Pickens: The timing – even when I first got in, the timing on the fastball was there but I was jumping at other pitches and I was rushing myself and doing a lot of things that you can't do. You have to relax, stay slow and go right after the ball. Any breaking stuff I was really lunging out towards. I had to be a guess hitter instead of seeing the ball and recognizing. Expecting one pitch ahead in the count and if I don't get it – don't worry about it.

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