RC Interview with Jeff Bianchi

Drafted by the Royals in the second round of the 2005 draft, shortstop Jeff Bianchi has tremendous talent. He sports a video game-like career line of .414/.500/.721, but unfortunately, injuries to his back and shoulder have limited him to just 40 games as a pro. Bianchi is almost fully recovered from last season's labrum surgery, and RC on Sunday afternoon spoke with him about his progress.

Royals Corner: First off, Jeff, how's your health this year? Are you fully recovered from your labrum surgery?

Jeff Bianchi: I'm feeling really good right now, my whole body and my shoulder. I'm still trying to get used to throwing every day, so I'm throwing on a modified throwing program. For the most part, everything's going well.

RC: Are you getting tired of Arizona?

JB: A little bit. It was hard staying down here the whole year, having to fight through shoulder injuries. But I'm just looking forward to the season, staying healthy, and hopefully going somewhere other than here.

Bianchi on Sunday received baserunning instruction from Wilmington skipper John Mizerock

RC: Do you have any idea where you're going to start this season? Do you expect to be assigned to a full season club, or do you think you'll have to stay behind awhile in extended spring training?

JB: I might have something of an idea. I think it all depends on how my shoulder's doing. If the Royals feel that I need to stay down here a little bit, then so be it, but if they feel that I'm ready to go every day, then hopefully I can get out of here.

RC: Let's shift gears for a moment to talk about your offense. What type of hitter are you?

JB: I'd say I'm a gap-to-gap hitter. I don't like to take too many pitches either, so if I see a pitch in my zone, I'm going to attack it. For the most part, I try to stay in the middle of the field and hit line drives, and once and awhile I'll get under the ball and it'll go out. But I don't consider myself a power hitter – I just try to shoot for the gaps.

RC: Is there anything in particular that you feel you need to work on at the plate? What are your weaknesses as a hitter?

JB: There are quite a few. Right off the bat I'd say offspeed pitches: just recognizing them, adjusting and staying back and staying inside the ball. Taking the ball the other way.

RC: How about your defense? I know your arm isn't up to full strength yet, but how's everything going for you out at short?

JB: Good. I've gotten through this time with my shoulder, and I've had a lot of time to work on my defense – just my footwork, ground balls, and everything that goes with it. Right now I'm feeling pretty good in the field. My throwing is coming along, and I'm starting to throw across the diamond. Everything will take care of itself, once I'm doing it every day.

Bianchi is starting to feel comfortable again at short

RC: Do you expect to stay at shortstop throughout your career?

JB: It would be nice to. I've played there my whole life. I love to play short. But if the time comes that I feel and the Royals feel that I need to make the change to second – I'm not sure about third – so be it.

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