Tom King working the count in his favor

Tom King's second year in the Padres Instructional League was much like the first – working the count, seeing pitches, and getting on base.

Second year in Instructs and you were seeing some time as a leadoff hitter. Has the goal been to see more pitches, the same as last year?

Tom King: Yea, that is what they told me. I was out for a while and missed a month and a half. They definitely want me to work the count a little more and make sure I get my pitch, make sure I am not hitting a pitchers' pitch. Just basically working on getting on base more.

The shoulder – when it was originally diagnosed I was thinking it would be only a couple of weeks. Were you thinking the same thing?

Tom King: I was thinking three weeks. It was a subluxation where it stretched all the tendons and tissues out so they wanted sure it was strong enough to come back. It was prone to happen again unless I got it real strong. If it happened again I would have had to have surgery.

You were really going strong at that point in time and when you returned you were not really the same?

Tom King: I was swinging pretty well before I got hurt and it set me back a little bit. I came back and didn't have that many home runs when I started off and came back, starting seeing more pitches, worked on getting on base and hit seven – my average dropped but my power numbers went up and my walks went up.

When you look back at the season, the injury aside, did you meet your own expectations?

Tom King: Yes. I wish my average could have been a little higher but other than that I felt I did pretty good. It is a tough league to hit in. The fields are not really hitter's fields and the pitchers are pretty good.

How have you changed from last year to this year?

Tom King: Working the count more. In college I was really aggressive and you can't really do that out here with wood bats and these guys. They can make a lot better pitches so you can't be overly aggressive or you are not going to get anything done.

How tough has it been to change your own mindset because that is something you have been doing since you were a kid.

Tom King: I have been doing it my whole life but I am pretty used to it now. I understand what I need to do. It took a little bit but I am ready for it.

What did you learn out at Instructs?

Tom King: Making sure I get my pitch – that is the biggest thing, actually. Getting on base – people say walks are as good as hits, and I believe that. If I get on base it gives us a chance to win.

Was the defense almost secondary at this point?

Tom King: You can't slack. I have moved over to short and third due to injuries and defense is always something you can work on.

As a natural second baseman, talk about working on the other side of the field.

Tom King: I played short and second my whole life. I played short at the start of my career and second – I feel fine over there. Third – I haven't really played much third base in my life. If they want me to do that I am going to have to get used to it. At second and short you use your feet a little more. At third you have to react a little more because the ball is hit a little harder and can get to you quicker. The arm thing definitely comes into play. I have to get rid of the ball quicker. At second you can play back.

Is it tough knowing your assignments with all the positions? At third base you have one thing to do and at second everything changes.

Tom King: I have done it so many times and we have gone over it so many times that you know what everyone else is doing. I am pretty sure any infielder can go on the mound and know they are supposed to go to the line on a bunt. You do it so many times that you figure out what everyone needs to do. It is getting over to third and getting plays in. I know what I need to do on each play.

What is the rest of the off-season like for you?

Tom King: Rest for a couple of weeks and then get after it in the gym. I probably won't pick up a bat for about a month – work out pretty hard and start running.

I want to get stronger, a little bit bigger and put on some weight so I can keep it throughout the season. I am going to try and put on as much weight as I can. You lose weight pretty quick throughout the season.

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