Huffman eyes adjustments, resurgence

Peoria, AZ-- A grand slam on Friday was just the kind of production Chad Huffman expected in 2008 but did not deliver. A new year has brought a new attitude with an eye on putting up impressive numbers in a bounce-back bid.

You have always talked about keeping a consistent approach, regardless of the count, but did playing at Nelson Wolff affect your hitting and have you going opposite field a lot more?

Chad Huffman: Yeah – it's just tough to hit at Nelson Wolff. It was a learning experience for me. I learned how to make adjustments. It seemed like a down-year for me, but I learned a lot.

Was there a fear of lifting a ball in the air because it would end up as outs?

Chad Huffman: Yeah, there's a little bit of a fear, absolutely. I hit some balls as well as I could get them, and I hit fly balls harder than I did last year – harder and stronger. But I hit them to the wrong part of the park, right-center, and it wasn't going anywhere. Dead center's not going anywhere, left-center's not going anywhere. It's just one of those things where you have to learn to adjust to it. You know, PETCO's like that so I'm just going to have to make an adjustment.

Can we expect the power numbers to go back up this season?

Chad Huffman: I hope so. I think I'm going to have a good year. I feel great. I'm a lot leaner than I have been in the past and I think I'm a little better athlete this year than I was last year.

You feasted on starting pitching last year but didn't fare as well versus relievers. What is the difference?

Chad Huffman: That's tough. I don't really know. I guess relievers come in late in the game and it all depends. It depends on how I'm going at the time. If I feel like I'm going great, I feel like I can hit anybody. Hopefully this year I can change it around and hit well off starters and relievers.

Do you think umpires were cognizant of you staring them down on a call strike three?

Chad Huffman: Nah – I talk to them. I'm friends with most of them. So I'll say something like, "Where was that at? You really got that as a strike right there?" So yeah, I was pretty good friends with most of them so I was just talking to them about that. I was never really staring them down or saying anything bad to them.

You are a guy who likes sticking to his plan, but if you get into a bad count because of that does it do you any good?

Chad Huffman: Well, sometime's you'll go to 0-2. You have a lot of at-bats and you're going to go 0-2 and you'll also go 3-0. If you start changing plans at-bat to at-bat you're just going to confuse yourself and it's just going to go downhill from there – snowball.

Talk about the Arizona Fall League experience.

Chad Huffman: It was a great experience. Lots of fun. I came out feeling great, hit the ball well, and then just starting getting tired. You know, it's a long season and I was playing four to five times a week and I felt like my bat was just a thousand pounds. But I learned a lot there too, and it was just a great experience for me. You see some of the best pitchers around and you learn how to handle yourself in that situation.

You received an invite to major league camp. In what ways has it and will it benefit you?

Chad Huffman: It gives me some confidence and makes me excited about the season. It's just a great opportunity. I'm glad to be here and I'll try to make the best I can of it.

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