Huffman flexing his muscles

Outfielder Chad Huffman felt he had a weakness going into the off-season. So, he worked tirelessly to shore up the hole in his game. The effect he hopes for – more doubles and homers hit the opposite way.

You had some nagging injuries down the stretch and couldn't really help the San Antonio club in the playoffs. How are you feeling today?

Chad Huffman: My kneecap kind of moved out of place but it was real tight and tender. Every time I planted, it hurt.

I feel great now; the best I have ever felt. I am swinging the best I have ever swung and hope for a good season this year.

What makes you say you are swinging the bat the best you ever had?

Chad Huffman: I am hitting the ball to right field with consistency and on a line plus I have a little more power.

Some of the detractors would say that they are unsure if you can hit for power in the major leagues. What do you say to those people?

Chad Huffman: There is always going to be some kind of negativity, no matter what. If you are the number one prospect out there, you are going to have negativity. It doesn't matter. I still have to do my own thing. I believe in myself. I believe I can. I hit 22 last year and hopefully can come up with a little more this year.

You have been playing left field. Has there been any talk of moving you around in the outfield?

Chad Huffman: Not that I know of. There might be in meetings, but I have no idea. I am pretty comfortable in left field now. I feel I have gotten a lot better since day one.

You had 104 RBIs last year to lead the system. What kind of accomplishment was that?

Chad Huffman: It was great. RBIs just help the team – one of the best hitting teams, if not the best, I have been on. With all those guys hitting in front of me – just go up there and get your hits and you will get RBIs.

One of the things people say about Chad Huffman is you hit good pitching. What does that mean?

Chad Huffman: I guess it means I am getting hits off the starters. I have always prided myself on being able to hit good pitching because I feel to make it to the big leagues you have to hit better pitching otherwise you are not going to be successful.

So you aren't padding your stats against the scrubs?

Chad Huffman: You definitely like to do that too. To make it to the big leagues, you are going to have to hit good pitching.

Has there been something specific that you want to work on early in the year?

Chad Huffman: Just all aspects and getting myself back in the groove. I have worked on getting the ball to right field with a little more authority. I have always been able to hit over there but not with as much authority as I would like. It is something I feel I can do.

Other than that, it is all aspects of the game.

What was the offseason preparation like to get ready for this season – a year where you are getting close to making it.

Chad Huffman: I hit off the tee a lot. I didn't really hit a lot in live BP but just tried to hit the ball the other way. That is all I did because I knew I was coming to the hitting camp. I did that so when I came to hitting camp I could get in a groove. You get a lot of swings in that hitting camp.

How does that put you ahead of the game?

Chad Huffman: I think as the years have gone on in my life – since I was a freshman in high school – I have always been able to pull the ball pretty well. My weakness was hitting the ball the other way. I feel like I have gotten better each and every year. It is getting there. If I want to be the best I want to be, I am going to have to hit the ball over the fence to right field.

Is that also recognition of where the pitch is pitched and it sounds like a delicate balance of doing it too much or not enough.

Chad Huffman: No question about it. The ball away – if you hit it just a little too out in front, you are not going to get anything on it. You really have to square it up right. On the inside pitches, you can get away with a little bit more to be able to drive the ball over the fence.

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