Padres Prospect Interview: Rymer Liriano

San Diego Padres prospect Rymer Liriano knows that a lot of the effects of Fort Wayne and the cold weather are as much mental as it is physical. He hopes to conquer the Midwest League with improved pitch selection.

What were you working on during spring training?

Rymer Liriano: I wanted to get the barrel of the bat on the ball during my swing, improve my positioning in the outfield, improve my pitch recognition and ability to stay back on the ball.

The last year, I had problems with the breaking ball. I was out in front. The coaches told me to stay back, stay back, stay back. I am starting to do that and it is starting to feel good.

Last year was a good season but I need to work every day. It is hard. This is my first full season year in Fort Wayne. There are 140 games. It is a long season with practice and everything. It is my first season with 140 games.

Is the simple goal this year to swing at better pitches?

Rymer Liriano: Absolutely, I need to swing at better pitches. The breaking ball is much nicer than last year. The ball away – staying back and waiting for it to break.

How is your confidence coming off a good year in the Arizona Rookie League?

Rymer Liriano: It is good. I know I have to work, work, work each and every day. I feel good.

You were success with runners in scoring position. How were you so successful?

Rymer Liriano: I didn't put any pressure on myself like I did the first year. I felt good in those situations. This spring, it wasn't important if I struck out, flew out. It was the process to stay back and get better. It didn't matter if I hit a ground ball. The Padres preached to me to stay back. All of the rest didn't matter.

The Padres philosophy has changes on the base paths. How can you take advantage of that?

Rymer Liriano: I want to be more aggressive. This year, I would like to steal at least 20 to 25 bases.

Were you trying to hit home runs last year?

Rymer Liriano: I hit eight but focused on hitting the single and the line drive. If it is a homer, it is a homer. A base hit or infield hit is fine. I need to be easy. That is when I hit the home run.

Jose Flores said that you remind him of a young Sammy Sosa. That is big praise.

Rymer Liriano: That is an honor that people have said I am like a young Sammy Sosa. He is very famous in the Dominican Republic. It makes me feel good. I like him. He is very aggressive. I want to stay aggressive with my hitting.

What are your goals for 2010?

Rymer Liriano: I don't know. It is my first year in Fort Wayne. It is cold. It is mental and I need to get past that. It's not all physical and hitting home runs. It is mental. It is cold but I have to tell myself it is warm or hot.

We all know you have a lot of great teammates and this does not take away from anyone you don't mention. If you could have one hitter hitting behind you in the lineup all season to offer protection, who would it be and why?

Rymer Liriano: Either Cody Decker or Edinson Rincon. They both have a lot of confidence and are great hitters.

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