Ronny Paulino Q&A

Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino has opened some eyes in his rookie campaign. As we enter the final week of the season he sports a .312 batting average with six home runs and 53 RBI. George Von Benko had a Q&A session with the young catcher.

GVB -- Ronny you have to be very pleased with the way you have played. Are you happy?

RP -- Of course! When somebody gives you the chance and the opportunity to play here in the big leagues as a rookie - especially being a catcher you have to appreciate that. It makes me think I'm actually doing a good job for my first year. Last year, in the minors, I was batting .340, but I faded. For me to stay strong this season has been great.

GVB -- Are you surprised at how well things have gone at the plate for you?

RP -- In the beginning I can't lie about it - I was a little surprised and then I know pretty much everybody on my pitching staff and we played together in the minor leagues and that made me feel more confident. I played hard and I know that I can be consistent.

GVB -- Your approach at the plate has served you well.

RP -- That's been my approach since I started and every hitting coach I've had tells me it's a very good approach. I'm in the big leagues and it's working. I wait for the pitch I want to hit, and I try to hit it the opposite way. People don't expect me to be so patient or to try and go the opposite way, so that's what I do. When they start expecting me to do that, I'll do the opposite.

GVB -- Pirates' brass feel you will improve your power numbers - is that a possibility?

RP -- I hope it comes, but you know in the position that I was hitting the whole year - in the eight hole you see a lot of breaking balls and I was just thinking get a hit and do my best. I never hit a home run thinking that I'm going to hit one. When you try to hit a home run you are a totally different hitter.

GVB -- With all the young guys on the team and the way the team has played in the second half do you see light at the end of the tunnel for this team?

RP -- You know as a team we are younger and you can see in the second half that the team came together. That's the way it's going to be from now on. I'm very proud of what we've done. As a rookie, I came in here with a young staff, and there's a lot we had to do to become better. And I'll tell you: These guys are going to get even better next year. Way better.

GVB -- What are the things you want to improve as you look ahead to next year?

RP -- As a catcher it's always the defense. I want to be the best defensive catcher in this league. That's my goal to work on it.


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