Hunter ready for breakout season

A steady diet of breaking balls is no fun – but it was a learning experience for Cedric Hunter. He is hoping to use that knowledge this season with the Lake Elsinore Storm.

There were a couple of people who were not impressed with your Instructional League performance and perhaps lack of energy out there. How do you push past that and get back to playing baseball again?

Cedric Hunter: It is a big difference in playing that full season and 515 at-bats. My body was pretty worn out and then I had to go to Double-A for the playoffs.

There are no excuses. My body was pretty tired. I was coming down there to work on the little things. I am ready to push past that and work on this year. You can't look back; you have to move forward.

In the Midwest League you saw a lot of breaking balls. How will that experience help you this year in the California League?

Cedric Hunter: It is a great experience to see a lot of breaking balls. You learn from it and have to adjust to it. I know I am going to see a lot of breaking balls again this year. I have to be ready for it. You still have to look fastball and react to everything else you see.

We are into our third year – how much have you grown since you were first drafted?

Cedric Hunter: A lot. I have learned a lot. The coaches are out here helping us every day – learning every day. I have come a long way. I didn't know as much as I thought I did.

Is there something specific you want to work on early in the year?

Cedric Hunter: I am just trying to keep it basic. That is what you have the offseason for – to work on the big things. I am just trying to stay on top of the ball and hit it hard.

A lot of people say their weakness is the outside (corner) but I covered that pretty well during the offseason, so I am hitting the ball to both sides of the field pretty well.

You went to Triple-A for a few games as well last season. What was that experience like?

Cedric Hunter: It was a great experience. I got to start too and hit a home run. It was good to be out there. It was a fun; it is a different game out there.

Did you feel like you were pressing with men on base down in Fort Wayne – like you had to drive in the run or it wouldn't get in?

Cedric Hunter: At one point in time I was pressing. Everybody does it, but I am learning from that experience heading into this year. I have to keep going.

It was a hard league to hit in last year. I am looking forward to a full year in the California League.

You got caught stealing more times than you stole last season. What is the key to improving that facet of your game?

Cedric Hunter: That was a big experience too. My game right there wasn't on point.

I really worked on that this offseason – speed-wise and jumps. Hopefully this year it will be better this year.

It is definitely reading the pitcher and hoping you can get a good jump on them plus catchers have better arms. I really didn't attempt to steal as much as I wanted to last year so I am going to try and get a lot of attempts this year. If you get caught, you have to keep going. You can't give up. You have to keep fighting through it.

The first step is the biggest step. Last year, I had a quick step but wasn't gaining distance out of it. I worked on that during Instructs and learned a lot from the coaches.

What is going to be a successful 2008 for Cedric Hunter?

Cedric Hunter: Playing hard. It doesn't matter what you hit or how you do it – it depends on how your game is and playing hard. As long as I play hard everyday, I am good.

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