Pirates Prospect Interview: Shelby Ford

After being sidelined for 39 games with a hip flexor injury Altoona Curve second baseman Shelby Ford has returned and entering action on Saturday Ford was batting .298 with two home runs and 14 RBI. The former Pirates third round draft pick was selected to play in the Eastern League All-Star game on July 16. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko spoke with Ford recently.

GVB-- The hip flexor injury had to really be a bummer at the start of the season?

SF-- It was especially after the end of last season with the back injury that put me out the last six weeks and then come out and right out of the gate have a hip flexor. I was on the DL for about a month, but you know I would rather have it early this season rather than late - so I can finish up the season strong and possibly do good things and have good things happen for me.

GVB-- How much have the injuries set you back in your development?

SF-- I try not to really think about it. When something happens like that I try to move forward and learn from it and build off of it. I've really got to focus more and buckle down and just get back to where I was and pick up a good pace.

GVB-- The numbers since you've returned have been good are you swinging the bat well?

SF-- I feel good up at the plate. I've tried to pick up where I left off last year in Lynchburg and spending that time down in Florida gave me an extra chance to workout a couple of kinks here and there. Working with Tom Prince and Sid Bream down there really helped out.

GVB-- What about your defense - how do you feel you are progressing in that area?

SF-- I feel like it is coming along real well. I'm taking to second base a lot better than last year. I'm just working on keeping a wide base on ground balls and everything seems to be going just fine.

GVB-- What are some of the areas that the Pirates have told you they would like you to work on?

SF-- One of them was my core strength my back strength and abdominal area, but as far as on the field - I'm working on doubleplays on the second base side. Just learning how to get there and get the ball out quick and stay in a good position to avoid the runner.

GVB-- What about the Altoona club - I know record wise you would like to be doing a little bit better wouldn't you?

SF-- It's kind of a younger team compared to what they have had. It's a good core of guys and we go out and we play hard and although we may not win as many games as we want to - our morale is still up and our energy level is up and we play hard.

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