Michael Campbell & David Freese talk spring

Peoria, AZ-- Michael Campbell knows potential top pick David Price well – he was he reason for his late start in the San Diego Padres system. David Freese may not know Price but the opposition definitely paid when he came to bat in his debut season.

Michael Campbell hit a combined .284 with eight doubles, six homers and 28 RBIs over 48 games between the Arizona Rookie League, short-season Eugene and Low-A Fort Wayne after recovering from a hand injury that claimed the first part of his season.

Are you a little mad that David Price – projected to be the top overall pick in the draft – had to be the one to tag you and break your hand?

Michael Campbell: No, actually no. It's actually a guy that I'd be happy to be put in the same category as him. Playing in a great conference like the SEC, you're going to run into guys like that. He came up to me after the game and apologized. His family apologized. It's all in good competition out there in the SEC.

How is the hand and did that affect you at all last year upon your return, specifically with your timing?

Michael Campbell: It recovered well. It took me a couple of weeks. I was in a cast and I came out here to Arizona Rookie Ball and rehabbed it for a couple of weeks. It's 100 percent now. I'm ready to go through the spring.

What does this invite to the early hitter camp mean to you and is there something specific you are working on?

Michael Campbell: It's great to be put in a category with all these great hitters. These guys are top five, ten round guys. I was a late round pick. To be out here with these guys is a great compliment and a great honor.

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David Freese combined to hit .317 with 21 doubles, 13 homers and 70 RBIs over 71 games between short-season Eugene and Low-A Fort Wayne. This year, he is working on patience – while maintaining the killer instinct that led to so many scoring opportunities converted.

You had a great year last year over two levels but leveled off at the end and you had said your focus this off-season would be to get ready for the grind. How did you accomplish that?

David Freese: You just got to get ready for when the season starts. The main thing is you've got to keep your strength up during the season. I fell off a little bit in August. I think a little wear-and-tear got to me. Coming out of college you start in January. It was a long year, but I'm definitely ready this year.

At Instructs, you wanted to see more pitches to create better at bats – did you also find yourself letting hittable pitches go and where is the balance?

David Freese: Yeah, that's the tough part. My job is to obviously drive guys in. So, you just have to find that one pitch and not let it get by you. And getting walks is always good. Usually the team that has the most walks wins the game. But driving balls in is definitely the object.

You worked hard with Gary Jones on your defense last year – where did you see the biggest difference in your defensive game?

David Freese: Just more consistent. Coming out of college a little rusty, got a lot of ground balls in the summer and especially at Instructs, just being more consistent and having more range.

You earned the "Mr. Clutch" award at the Instructional League – what did that mean to you?

David Freese: (Laughs) That's an honor. Just a little fun that the coaches put together to give out some awards. Hopefully I can keep that name up.

You had a big year at Fort Wayne, but some have called you "old for the league," doubting you can repeat your success at the next level. How do you respond to that?

David Freese: I'm just going to go out this year and see what I can do. Hopefully I can prove guys wrong. Coming out of college, being the old guy, that's just something you get stamped with. You've just got to go out and prove yourself every day.


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