Sean Kazmar: Coming in they sat me down and told me what they wanted me to accomplish this year as far as my approach goes at the plate. I struggled a little bit last year but was able to come on strong and get the confidence level back up.
I don't think the confidence level is going to be a factor this year. I learned a lot last year, and I understand what I need to do as far as my approach and being able to go the other way with the pitches away – which I had trouble with – and being able to turn on the pitches on the inner half.
That is what I have been doing since January – working on my approach and understanding which pitch I can handle.
Do you feel like you are ahead of the game, regardless of what the stats may say?
Sean Kazmar: Absolutely. I was very fortunate to get invited out to the early hitter's camp (as well) to work with (Tony) Muser and (Tom) Gamboa and all the hitting coaches. I feel like I am ahead through the first week of games.
To be able to go the other way is paying off and I hope to keep it going.
When you say approach – is that pitch selection?
Sean Kazmar: Oh yea – understanding which pitch I can drive the other way and which pitches to lay off early in the count. Being more selective – patiently, aggressive. Which pitch I can handle to be able to go the other way, something they want me doing a lot more of this year.
You got a chance to go over to big league camp a couple of times this spring. What was the experience like for you?
Sean Kazmar: You go out there and you learn from what you see. They may not be going 110 percent but they make it look so easy out there. It is good to watch that.
It is good to be able to go up there and ask questions, learn from them, and be able to get the experience – get in game situations with the big boys like that. It definitely helps being able to go out there.
Was there anyone up there who you felt was your go-to guy for information?
Sean Kazmar: There were a couple of guys. I was able to go up last year and got a lot of help. They are always there to pat you on the back.
Chase Headley – every time I went over there we had 30-minute conversations about the pitcher and how they are pitching him. Watching Callix Crabbe helped me a lot. He might be faster than me but we play a similar game. It definitely helps my game.
When we spoke with Grady Fuson before the season, he said he expected big things from Sean Kazmar, singling you out as someone who can make an impact at the big league level as a utility player. What does that mean to you?
Sean Kazmar: It definitely means a lot to hear it coming from a head guy. Like I said earlier, I understand what I need to do this year, and last year was a learning experience. I know what to do and what not to do now.
To hear that – that gets me going that much more because I know I still have a chance to get up there. I will take one day at a time, one AB at a time, and go 100 percent, like I always do.
What will make for a successful 2008 for Sean Kazmar?
Sean Kazmar: Playing a solid year, staying consistent. I moved over to shortstop this year and want to make routine plays and help the team as much as I can.
Anything better than last year would probably be a success! No, staying in there with a solid approach, staying consistent – that is my main goal. The numbers will hopefully speak for themselves on how much I have been working and hopefully it will pay off in the end.
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