TigsTown: What's it like to play professional ball?
Cory Middleton: It's definitely a dream. My older brother is in pro-ball and I've watched him play from middle school on and that's been inspiring. I figure if he can do it, so can I. I really enjoy, but it would be so awesome to have this be my job.
TT: You were drafted right out of HS, has it been difficult to adjust to a new level of talent?
CM: Well, the pro games are definitely faster than the HS, but playing in Florida I faced pitchers everyday who threw in the mid 90's. So that helped to make it not too big a jump. Going from playing on Tuesday and Thursday to playing everyday in a faster game and having to play more consistently had been pretty hard.
TT: You're originally from Florida what does it feel like being so far away?
CM: It's not too bad, I cope alright. It's the most fun I've ever had. This is my family now, and these guys are great. It feels like only a few days ago we were in spring training.
TT: How important is your family to you?
CM: My family is real big. They'll be coming up here a few times this year, and last year they came to Lakeland quite a bit. It was only six hours or so for them, so they would just come out for a bit.
TT: You mentioned your brother is a professional pitcher, is the sibling rivalry outrageous?
CM: No, not at all. We actually help each other out quite a bit. He's a pitcher, so he'll throw to me in the offseason and we figure if we can help each other out in the offseason, we'll both be one step ahead of the game.
TT: Speaking of pitching, you pitched through HS, do you miss i?
CM: I loved every minute of it and miss it so much, but I know there's no way to do both. I always start messing with everybody though – anytime I'm not starting [in the field], I tell them to put me in the pen. But I know that it can't happen and I'm fine with that.
TT: You played mainly short through HS when you weren't pitching, was it difficult to switch to a new position?
CM: Well, when you play short you get into a rhythm and everything goes around that. At third, you just have to focus on staying quick – it's all about knocking balls down and making quick plays.
TT: What's a strong point of your game?
CM: I'd say my strong point is my defense and my arm. Up until know I would've said my hitting, but I'm hoping it will come around soon [and be a strength].
TT: What's a weakness?
CM: Coming from HS, I was able to just sit and pull the ball all day. But once I got here, they knew I could hit and started working me away. So I've had to work really hard on taking the ball the other way.
TT: How do you get prepared for your games? Do you have any weird routines?
CM: No, I just go through whatever the team does. I don't believe in superstitions.
TT: You've earned a reputation for being a hard worker, did you get that naturally or was it instilled in you?
CM: That came from my family, but especially my brother. He told me you're not gonna be given anything, you have to earn it. I just know that this could all be over so I wake up and make sure I give it my all.
TT: This is your first full-length season, what did you do differently in the offseason to prepare for this potential opporutunity?
CM: This offseason I got my body ready by watching what I eat, working out and doing the little things. I knew that the most important part was to keep my body healthy because the more you play the more you produce. Everything else was the same.
TT: What adjustments have you had to make in your approach to this year?
CM: Being from Florida, I knew that it was going to be cold here at the beginning of the year, but I didn't realize it would be as tough as it was to stay warm. So that's the toughest thing – it gets pretty cold when it's raining and thirty degrees. But it's been getting easier as it warms up.