Padres Prospect Interview: Andrew Parrino

FORT WAYNE, IN: When you are a 26th-round draft pick from a small college that few outside the general vicinity of Buffalo, New York have heard off, there are no protracted contract negotiations.

A plane ticket and maybe some extra peanuts on the Southwest flight and that is about all. But for players such as Andrew Parrino, 22, it's a chance to compete for the rare opportunity that comes to players from colleges such as Le Moyne to show that you can play at the highest levels.

Parrino played three years at Le Moyne, hitting .402/.479/.643 to lead the Dolphins into the NCAA Tournament for the program's fourth appearance. Additionally, despite its small size, this is the fourth time in the past five years that two players from Le Moyne were selected in the June draft.

Last year at Eugene, Parrino hit .271/.365/.394, splitting time between second and third base. This spring, his strong play forced the Padres to place him into a rotation with Drew Cumberland and Lance Zawadzki at short and second in Fort Wayne with Parrino also seeing time at third base.

With the Wizards, the Padres have played Parrino at second, third and short and view him as a potential utility player with gap power.

Could you give us a little background on yourself where you came from and where you went to school.

Andrew Parrino: I'm from Brockport, NY up by Buffalo and went to Le Moyne College. I was drafted in the 26th round as a junior by the Padres.

What made you decide to come out?

Andrew Parrino: I just wanted to play. Funny thing is that I signed then my college team Le Moyne was kicked out of our conference. We had dominated that conference pretty well so this year they are independent.

With so many guys out of big programs and you being a 26th-round pick, you must have really torn it up in spring training to earn a spot on a full-season team.

Andrew Parrino: Yeah, I got a call from my area scout and he asked if I was ready to play and I said that I was and that was that, I signed the next day. So yeah, I guess I did well enough to get to this point.

Your manager raved about your ability to play any position. What is your best position and which one do you have to work the most on?

Andrew Parrino: They all are pretty much the same, but this year I've had a lot of work at second and third. I've always played shortstop my entire life so I feel pretty good there too.

So if you can play shortstop you feel you can play pretty much anywhere on the infield.

Andrew Parrino: Yeah, definitely, the only difference between second and third is reading the ball at some different angles.

How long have you been switch-hitting?

Andrew Parrino: Since I was about 7 years old.

Your dad started you off pretty early.

Andrew Parrino: [laughs] Yeah, very early.

Do you have any differences between your stances from the left to the right or are you a mirror image on both sides?

Andrew Parrino: You want to be a mirror image but you also want to feel comfortable. Being a switch-hitter, one day you will feel better from one side than the other. The key is to try to stay as consistent as you can from both sides, which isn't the easiest thing to do and put good swings on the ball.

Do you feel more comfortable from the left than the right because you see so many more right-handed pitchers?

Andrew Parrino: Usually you will see more righties but lately we have been running into quite a few lefties so I feel pretty good from the right side.

What is the biggest thing you need to work on to move the ladder?

Andrew Parrino: At the plate, I need to stay more consistent, cut down on strikeouts and put the ball in play more. Defensively, just making the routine play and play as many positions as possible.

It seems like you have a little bit of pop in your bat. Does that get you in trouble occasionally making you a little home run happy?

Andrew Parrino: Sometimes I get a little too aggressive and will swing at some bad pitches. The big thing for me is to stay in my zone and try to swing at my pitch. Just put a good swing on the ball and hit some doubles and maybe a few home runs.

Being from a small college what is the biggest difference in playing here besides the competition level?

Andrew Parrino: Coming from a small conference we might see one good pitcher on the weekend but here everyone was the number one or number two on their team. Staying consistent is my biggest goal now.

Coming from a small college you're playing against guys who played in the SEC, ACC and PAC-10. It doesn't seem like you are intimidated or in awe of anyone. Did you always have that confidence that you could play with anyone?

Andrew Parrino: Yeah, especially with my college coach who always preached about being a pressure player and wanting to play when the game is on the line. If you know what you want to do and you have prepared yourself to succeed, then you are ready to play for any situation in the game. You want the ball hit to you late in the game with runners in scoring position and you want to be at the plate with the game on the line.

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