Jason Donald Knows He Can Be Better

Lakewood shortstop Jason Donald is already a very good player. But he's not good enough and that's according to him. So, in his first full-season league, Donald is aiming to do things better than he's done in the past.

It was 30 minutes after the Lakewood BlueClaws had just lost to Greensboro. Most of the players were showering, some were gathered around a television watching the Mets and Braves, while others were just milling around, maybe grabbing a bite to eat. There at his locker, away from the showers, the televisions and the food, sat Jason Donald. He was sitting in a folding chair with a pen in his hand and a notebook in front of him, taking notes on the pitchers he had faced that day.

Donald is no stranger to hard work. He has pure talent, but knows that he has to get better with every opportunity to keep moving through the pro ranks. With that in mind, he keeps notes on pitchers he faces and looks for things that will make him better in the next game than he was in this game.

"The day in and day out grind of pro ball is tough. In college, you have at least one day off a week and then a series on the weekend," explained the 2006 Draft pick. "Here [in the pros] you have to prepare yourself mentally for each day and for the physical toll it can take on your body."

One knock on Donald has been that he will make routine errors even though he has the talent to make tough plays look easy. Donald thinks he knows the reason for that. "Sometimes, I can get in a hurry and try to do things too fast. I need to slow myself down at times," admitted Donald. The Phillies have thought enough of their young shortstop that they've moved Lakewood teammate Adrian Cardenas to second base to make room for Donald.

As for preparing for each game, Donald is an information junkie. "If anybody has any information on guys we're facing, I like to hear it," laughed Donald. "I like to look back at past stuff and see what they've thrown in the past." All of that information goes into Donald's white binder that he keeps updated religiously after every game. The notes are extensive and he plans on reading them and re-reading them so he knows exactly what he's up against. For Donald, preparation is a big part of the game. "It will get a little bit easier to prepare after I see these guys a few times, but for now, I just go on any information that I can find on them," said Donald.

In his debut season, Donald hit .263 at Batavia and is off to a strong start this season at Lakewood, hitting .385 (5-for-13) through the first three games of the season. He made his first error of the year Saturday, but in all honesty, it was a play that the first baseman should have been able to make and save Donald the error.

With Lakewood heading out on their first road trip, Donald will be sure to pack his binder. He'll keep it close. And while others are off doing their thing, Donald will be doing his, just getting ready for the next time that he steps to the plate.

Audio Extra: Jason Donald talks about moving up to Lakewood and the difference between the college ranks and pro ball.

Jason Donald's career stats

'06 Batavia 1 24 .263 63 213 33 56 14 2 12 23 42 .347
'07 Lakewood 0 5 .385 3 13 1 5 1 0 0 1 3 .429
TOTALS 1 29 .270 66 226 34 61 15 2 12 24 45 .352

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