Sogard sees benefit of Instructs

One-on-one time during the Instructional League is a time that many prospect cherish. Count San Diego Padres prospect Eric Sogard among those who got as much out of Instructs as anyone.

You got a chance to go out to the Padres Instructional League. What was that experience like?

Eric Sogard: It was a lot of work getting out there at 8 AM everyday but it was totally worth it. I learned so much since I was there. I really think I improved my game. It was great.

What was it that you learned – is there anything specific you can point to?

Eric Sogard: All the little things. There were so many coaches out there that had a specialty in one certain area. They helped you in that area. It is easier because there were less players out there and they can go to you one-on-one.

During the season it is tough when there is three coaches for the whole team.

Have you changed anything, have they changed anything? What were you trying to accomplish and what was the end goal?

Eric Sogard: We hadn't talked about changing – just working on improving whatever weaknesses I may have. Even if they are not weaknesses – making them better.

I talked to you in Eugene and you got a chance to go up to Fort Wayne and end the year in Low-A. What was that experience like for you?

Eric Sogard: That was a great experience. It showed that little jump makes a difference in the playing and pitching out there. I felt like I could compete up there.

When you look back upon the season, do you feel like you met your own expectations?

Eric Sogard: I felt like I could have done a little better, numbers-wise. I felt I swung the bat well and played decent defense but there is plenty of room for improvement. I know if I play my game I will improve.

You played second base and shortstop during the year – some of the scouts I talked to say that you aren't really cut out for shortstop. Do you feel like that is a fair assessment?

Eric Sogard: I can play short but my main position is second base. I don't have the strongest arm out there but I could get it from short if I had to. I am suited for second base and I like it there. Hopefully, they will like me there too.

While you were at Instructs, I got a chance to talk to a few people and they said you were hitting the ball well. What changed when you got out there?

Eric Sogard: Getting comfortable out there – getting used to the wood bats. I know it was not supposed to take this long (laughter) but at least it came.

I was feeling really comfortable out there and really relaxed, seeing the ball well and doing my thing.

I asked earlier if you met your own expectations and you said, "yes". Is it based on now?

Eric Sogard: Now I can say I have. You are right.

What are you working on in the box – everyone is always making adjustments it seems.

Eric Sogard: Not trying to do too much up there. Sometimes you get anxious and try and yank one out of here but I am not really that power type of hitter so I have to stick to my plan and take line drives up the middle. If I get out of that, I am screwed. That is not my game and not going to work out for me.

Have you had a chance to work with Tony Muser – the new roving hitting coach?

Eric Sogard: I have had a chance to work with Muse. He has been great. He really works hard with us. It has improved my hitting a lot.

Is there something he has said that just has stuck with you?

Eric Sogard: Letting that ball get deep and not trying to get out there and yanking it all the time. Let it get deep and take the line drives up the middle – and some backspin. That is one of his key phrases and it has stuck in my mind and helped me out.

How do you create backspin on the ball?

Eric Sogard: It is kind of weird; I really don't know (laughter). I kind of swing and hope it happens. There is some kind of angle with the bat – it is down at first and then through to create some backspin. It is tough to do. But the more backspin the farther it goes.

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