Canham ready to tap into his power

After winning a College World Series, Mitch Canham began his professional career in the San Diego Padres system. After playing short-season ball, his prospect status soared. Now, he skipped a level and is in Lake Elsinore.

You went up to Lake Elsinore late in the year and didn't get a lot of at-bats, but how can that experience help you in 2008?

Mitch Canham: Getting called up there was a good thing for me to meet the coaches and staff and see what kind of stuff the players had while also getting a taste of what the next level up was like.

When I first got out there I was a little nervous, but I realized they are all good talent and nothing too far out that I couldn't compete with. It was nice to get comfortable with those guys, see a different look, and get a chance to see a part of the west coast that I haven't had an opportunity to spend much time in. I have been in the Northwest forever.

In Spring Training and early in the year, you have been wearing batting gloves. Is that something you will continue doing?

Mitch Canham: Only when it is warm out and I start sweating. I don't want to throw the bat at anybody.

I have been doing a lot of BP with my gloves on and it rips my hands open. Usually I just throw pine tar on my hands and call it a day.

Is there an intimate feel for the bat where you can feel when you might be doing something wrong while not wearing gloves?

Mitch Canham: I like using a thin handle. I use a 271 bat, which is real thin. Having the batting gloves on or extra tape make sit feel bigger. I like the feeling of having a thin handle and big barrel. Also, holding onto the bat – I feel like I have more control than when I use gloves. When I do use gloves, I make sure I tar it up pretty good and use a real thin pair (of gloves).

We talked a little bit about your swing mechanics being changed around. You had were losing a little bit of your power by leaking forward as the pitch came in. How have you changed to eliminate that?

Mitch Canham: I am working on staying back. I have always been someone who jumps on balls. Right now, we are working on staying back and seeing the ball longer.

We have been working a lot more on the catching aspect of my game to improve there. I know I am going to hit all right. I want to make sure I handle the pitching staff and keep everything in front of me.

You mentioned working on the catching aspect and we kind of take it for granted, especially the calling games portion.

Mitch Canham: It is a learning process – the situations in a game, who is hitting, what the count is. Some days, I feel like I call a game pretty well. Also, handling the pitchers and learning their stuff, their tendencies and what they can throw – that is a big part of the process. Only seeing one guy every couple of days in spring made it hard – remembering what happened last time and putting it into effect again.

One thing we spoke about in the past was bringing down your time to second base. How do you feel you are doing after an off-season with some rest?

Mitch Canham: I have a tendency to stand up and throw rather than getting out there and moving towards the bag with my throw. That puts a lot of stress on my arm. As far as accuracy, I feel comfortable throwing guys out. I think it is getting the pitch first. Some guys I feel more comfortable with and throw guys out easier.

If I am uncomfortable, I am slower and more mechanical. Some guys have so much movement that you really want to make sure you catch the ball before you throw it. I am not worried about getting out and doing it fast, I am worried about doing it right and being accurate, hitting the shortstop or second baseman in the chest.

What is going to make for a successful 2008 season for Mitch Canham?

Mitch Canham: A success in my eyes is going to be getting a ring at the end of the year and helping everybody else out, help myself out with the people trying to coach me up and being comfortable. As long as I don't put too much pressure on myself, I will be fine. I am not worried about moving up in the system; it will happen. Just keep relaxed and focused.

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