Padres prospect interview: Matt Thayer

A day before he got called up to Lake Elsinore we cornered correspondent, outfielder Matt Thayer. A 31st round draft pick out of UCLA in 2004, Matt played at three different levels in his initial season with the Padres. This year, nagging injuries combined with a crowded outfield got him off to a slow start at Lake Elsinore.

Matt Thayer was sent to extended spring training to rehab some injuries, before landing a spot back in Fort Wayne. At Fort Wayne, Thayer produced solid numbers good enough to get him promoted with Chris Kolkhorst and Brett Dowdy.

So far at Lake Elsinore Thayer has hit .278 over 21 games and .341 overall this year in the Minors.

John Conniff: What has been the biggest change for you in your second professional season?

Matt Thayer: Last year, I was just getting the feel of things. Getting used to the wood bats, even though I would play every summer with them. This year started off a little shaky for me, but now I'm starting to settle in, play everyday and getting some consistency which is what I wanted to work on this year.

Instead of just having a good game here, a bad game, I am really working on being more consistent with my emotions. Since I've come to Fort Wayne, I've had a chance to play everyday which has really helped me out a lot. Whether I have a good game or a bad game, I try to just stay exactly the same and have a consistent approach.

John Conniff: How tough is it getting used to playing so many games as a professional as compared to college? It seems like every movement, every at-bat in the minor leagues is scrutinized. How do you deal with that?

Matt Thayer: Emotionally and mentally it is a lot harder than the physical part. There are a couple different ways you can take it. One, it can beat you into the ground or you can take every at-bat with too much pressure, so that halfway through the season you are just exhausted, your attitude really starts to suffer. If you try to keep each at bat contained, when its done it's done, then you try to figure out the next one, that is how I try to approach it and it has worked well for me.

John Conniff: You've played all the outfield positions since you've been here, is that something that you've been trying to do?

Matt Thayer: Yeah, the more positions that you can show them that you can play, the better off you are. In college I played everywhere [the outfield] and last year too.

John Conniff: How much input do you have on where you play? Do you go up to Randy Ready and say I want a chance to play at this spot?

Matt Thayer: [laughing] He's asked me when the last time I played centerfield or even first base the other day. I've played all those positions before, and I think I've showed that you can put me out there and I can handle it.

John Conniff: You are left-handed, but hit right-handed, which is really unusual. How did that start? Did you ever try to bat left-handed and become a switch hitter?

Matt Thayer: I tried some switch hitting, mainly in high school, but at that point I was more worried about the right side than the left. I went to a small private high school in Southern California, so I wanted to get noticed more and was afraid that it would screw up my natural swing on the right side. Looking back, I should have pursued it more, but then again I might not have been here if I had, so it's hard to say.

I used to follow my older brothers to the batting cage who were both right-handed, and I just copied them and started swinging from the right side, so that is how I became a right-handed hitter.

So I blame them for that development.

Have a question about a prospect in the San Diego Padres' system. Send John an email at Some questions will be forwarded and answered on air during weekly segment on the flagship station for San Diego Padres' baseball, The Mighty 1090. The show airs each Friday at 10:35 AM PST with Brian Wilson and Ernie Martinez.

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