RC Interview with Brett Eibner

Brett Eibner was the Royals' second round selection in the 2010 draft. After homering in his professional debut, the 22-year-old Arkansas alum suffered ligament damage while making a diving catch in his second game, costing him two months of the season. On Wednesday, RC caught up with Eibner, who was finally able to return to action last week.

Royals Corner: First off, Brett, how's the thumb?

Brett Eibner: It's getting better. I still don't have 100 percent strength in it. But as far as the ligament and everything, it's 100 percent healthy. I've just got to get my strength back. And that's probably the toughest part – controlling the barrel, and swinging the bat and stuff. I've struggled since I've come back, but every day it gets better, so we'll see.

RC: Other than that, how are you feeling at the plate right now?

BE: You know, it's disappointing, but it's a long season. I've got to understand that I just got back and I'm not going to be 100 percent right off the bat. So I've just got to take my time, and when I'm 100 percent, well see because I'll start hitting the ball and have better at bats and keep progressing.

RC: How would you describe your approach at the plate? What are you looking to do up there?

BE: I'm just looking to get a good pitch and drive it right back up the middle. There's no reason to pull a pitch unless I'm going to react to a pitch in. But mostly I'm looking for a ball over the middle of the plate that I can drive and get extra bases on. I'm not looking one specific pitch, but just something out there that I can drive.

RC: You hit some big home runs in college. Would you consider yourself a clutch hitter?

BE: Yeah, I've gotten in that situation where I've gotten that at bat and obviously produced. But yeah, I guess so. I've done it for the last two years in college. My freshman year, I struck out to end the season in the regional, and I told myself I was never going to do that again. I had both those opportunities my sophomore and junior year, and I didn't let it happen. It's just a matter of not wanting to give up, and to keep the team alive.

RC: You had a really good junior year, a big improvement over your sophomore season. What would you attribute that to?

BE: I had a good freshman year. I just had a down sophomore year, like anyone else. Guys have bad years, and everyone freaked out and thought "oh, he has a long swing, he strikes out too much, blah blah blah." But you look at my junior year, and I came back and obviously improved on what I did my freshman year. And my freshman year, I was just as good as anyone in the country. I just had a bad year and let it get to me the whole year, and I never really climbed out of that hole. It was a good learning experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. It taught me a lesson that when you struggle, you've got to stay the course, and you'll get out of it and come through on top. So it was a good learning experience for me.

RC: Playing big time SEC college baseball, do you feel that prepared you pretty well for the professional game?

BE: Absolutely. I feel very well prepared. Especially with the coaches I had. Todd Butler, the hitting coach, he definitely got me ready for the next level, and I can't thank him enough for that. And then playing against guys – I've played against guys that are already in the big leagues now, and it's definitely a good experience when you're that young and playing in such a good conference, it definitely prepares you for down the road.

RC: How do you feel you're progressing defensively?

BE: I'm always there defensively, no matter what. I'm a solid defender in center fielder, and no matter what's going on that day, I'm always going to play. I'm very consistent in center field with what I do, and I never have to worry about it. It's just all reaction, and I'm going to let my ability take over.

RC: Do you have any experience on either of the corners?

BE: Not really. I played a little bit of right, but I've never played left. But I've played mostly center field for my whole life.

RC: Thanks a lot, and good luck the rest of the year.

BE: Thanks.

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