Drew Cumberland looking to improve glovework

Shortstop Drew Cumberland, playing in his first season professionally for the San Diego Padres, had his highs and lows in season one. He flashed a potent bat but struggled with the glove – an area he worked hard on in the Instructional League and is focused on improving.

Talk to me about the fielding issues you experienced this year – did it feel faster or where you trying to do too much?

Drew Cumberland: I think I was trying to rush things, trying to be too fast on balls I could have waited back on.

Our infield coordinator, Gary Jones, has helped me slow the game down and helped me realize I have time to field the ball, take my time, and get the guy.

That was my main thing – rushing balls and having them get up on me too quick and I would get a bad hop every once a while.

How frustrating was it for you to have your hand dislocated?

Drew Cumberland: It was right when I got out here – it was a little frustrating. Those things happen and you have to find a way to work through it. The times I couldn't do anything I would get in the weight room and work on my legs.

You come back and hit well in Arizona. Then you get moved up to Eugene to end the year and do well hitting there too. It didn't take you long to get the swing back.

Drew Cumberland: I still worked on the swing in the cages, even though sometimes I couldn't swing. I would get up when the pitchers were in the bullpen throwing their pens and see the live pitching and track the balls into the mitt. I never really lost my timing.

You go out to Instructs – what were the things you were working on out there?

Drew Cumberland: Mainly defense and working on catching the ball and throwing the ball – doing the routine things. Also, my drag bunts to utilize my speed, get the ball on the ground and do what I can to get on base.

How difficult is it to learn how to lay down a perfect drag bunt and is it something you have done in the past?

Drew Cumberland: It is something I did in high school a little bit my freshman and sophomore year. Tom Gamboa really knows what he is talking about with bunting – make sure you bunt it before you run, put good placement on it – as long as you put good placement on it, someone with speed is going to get on every time.

You talked about working with Gary Jones – what was something he taught you that maybe you never considered before but realize it might help you a lot?

Drew Cumberland: Mainly taking my time. I always tried to get to balls too quick. He told me to ‘make sure your left is out in front of your right foot. You will see the hops better and be able to play them better.' Ever since I have been doing that I am seeing the hops more clearly and I can get that good hop.

Some people have mentioned that shortstop may not be your final position, citing your speed and perhaps an ability to play centerfield. Do you consider that now?

Drew Cumberland: Right now I am trying to work on the position I am at but down the road if that is something they think I should do – I will do whatever to get to the big leagues.

During batting practice at Instructs, Grady Fuson had a little fun with you when he was throwing to you by saying, ‘Cumberland likes to leak out over the plate.' Is it tough to stay off the breaking ball away?

Drew Cumberland: Right now, yea.

It is all in fun. He knows what he is talking about. All the coaches know what they are talking about so I shut up and listen.

I don't like using the term that I am young – I feel like I can play with anybody. Of course you have to put in your time and work as hard as the big leaguers to stay consistent. Whatever they tell me, I try and listen and take everything they say into the games. Instructs was to work on things.

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

Drew Cumberland: Spend time with my family. My sister had a baby that turned one.

I took about three or four weeks off and then hit it back hard in the gym. Then take the field with my brother – he is in Double-A with the Reds. I won't be all by myself.

Is that good to have him ahead of you – you can push each other.

Drew Cumberland: Definitely. Every year he has come back he has always taught me new things. I think that is what helped me so much through high school. He brings back what he has learned through Instructs and the season and that has helped me so much.

He pushes me – just like a coach, like he is my dad. He is in the cages screaming at me to get things right. He has been around the game longer than I have – and I listen.

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