Interview: Kyle Blanks

WASHINGTON, DC: One of the more popular Padres prospects in a long time is Kyle Blanks, the behemoth first baseman who has been a mainstay in left field for San Diego.

Coming off of strong year in Double-A San Antonio that saw him hit .325/.404/.514 with 20 home runs and 107 RBI in one of the toughest hitters parks for right-handed hitters in the minor leagues, he put himself into any discussion about not only the top prospects in the organization, but the entire minor leagues.

After spring training, San Diego was determined to find a way to put both him and perennial All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the same lineup.

After a month of playing first base in Triple-A Portland, the team started to ease the athletic Blanks into the outfield, where after the first month he saw some limited time, 15 games, in left field. After a big June that saw him hit .370/.478/.630, the team determined that his apprenticeship had lasted long enough and sent him up.

While its still far too early to make any determinations on what Blanks may or may not be able to do in the major leagues, in this down season for the big clubm he provides a great deal of hope.

What has been the biggest thing that has surprised you being in the major leagues?

Kyle Blanks: Just the overall level of play. Its the major leagues for a reason. Everyone knows what they are doing, especially the pitchers.

How do you adjust to playing against guys that you were watching on television last year and growing up?

Kyle Blanks: Coming to the realization that its the same game. You have to go out and do the things that got you here if you want to stay. They have been doing it a little longer than I have and been consistent at it; but its the same game.

It was hard to separate that at first.

How has the more information in the scouting reports helped and hurt you as compared to the minor leagues?

Kyle Blanks: They have the same information that we do and it helps, but you have to realize that everything can change pretty quickly. I'm trying to focus more on feeling comfortable and putting good swings on the ball. If I do that, things are going to work out.

There is definitely a lot information and sometimes it can be a little much. I try to really concentrate on what I can do.

Is there a process on how to not only get into a routine physically but mentally on what you need to prepare for the game?

Kyle Blanks: It is tough to start and pick out the things that work. In a way its like hitting and going from high school, college and the pros. It's a new environment and you have to learn about what does and does not work for you.

When you were getting sporadic playing time was it (a) tough to get used to that and (b) trying to not put too much pressure on yourself when you did get that one pinch hit at-bat?

Kyle Blanks: It was tough for me because I had never really done that. It was tough to get used to trying to having only one at-bat and trying to focus on having a really good at-bat instead of trying to hit the first thing that came to me.

Whenever we have interviewed you before, we inevitably asked you if the Padres were playing you at other positions than first base. You are up now and not only playing left field, but also some right. How has that been going for you?

Kyle Blanks: Good. I've had a lot of help between the coaches and players. To me, there are no dumb questions when you don't know what you are doing. I've been putting in a lot of work with everyone, trying to pick their brain and do what they do.

You've always seemed like a player that likes challenges, is right field, especially in PETCO, a pretty big challenge?

Kyle Blanks: It is a little different, but if I am out there I am going to try to do well no matter where I am playing.

You seem like you are in the best shape that you have been in since you joined the organization. Have you been focussing more on your conditioning?

Kyle Blanks: This has been one of my better years, especially in balancing between weights and conditioning. I feel better than I have in a long time.

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