TigsTown Q&A: Shortstop Daniel Fields

After signing right at the signing day deadline, how did Daniel's first taste of pro ball go this past fall, and what's he looking forward to in his first full season?

TigsTown: Let's start by talking about the off-season and your preparation for your first real professional debut. What have you been doing this off-season to get ready for your first spring training?

Daniel Fields: This off-season I have been doing speed and agility training, lifting a lot of weights and hitting a lot too.

TT: How much insight has your father provided in terms of how you are preparing for this year?

DF: He has provided a lot of insight for me this off season. We talk everyday about hitting and the game of baseball. Always working on my swing to get it right and helping me figure out my own swing so when I do something wrong I can tell what I did without having him tell me what I did wrong.

TT: Knowing that you father has obviously been a big help to you, are there others that have really helped mold you and prepare you for the professional game?

DF: No not really. I really knew what to expect because I have been around the game for my whole life. I use to go to the park with my dad all the time so I have been around the players a lot and my dad has done a good job helping me out.

TT: What types of goals have you set for yourself in your first pro season?

DF: One of my goals is to go out and win a job on the West Michigan team. Another is to lead my team in extra base hits next year and batting average.

TT: Having lived in Michigan, is it safe to assume you have been a lifelong Tiger fan?

DF: Yeah i have definitely been a Tigers fan for my whole life. My dad was with the tigers for most of my life so that's what I grew up on.

TT: That said, how did it feel to be drafted by the home town team?

DF: It felt really good. I was surprised when I heard my name being called by them because I really never heard that much from them before the draft. But it was a really good feeling though.

TT: Most draft analysts looked at the Tigers decision to select you and figured you may be a backup option if they weren't able to sign first-round pick Jacob Turner. Did you ever have that feel, or was the prevailing impression that the Tigers had every intent to pursue you heavily?

DF: No I didn't have that feel at all. When they drafted me they told me they had every intention to sign me. They followed me throughout the summer and we got a deal done so I was very happy when it happened.

TT: Can you talk me through what proved to be an extensive negotiation process? Did things simmer for a long period of time, before coming to a head right as the signing deadline approached, or how did it all go down?

DF: The Tigers came out during the summer to watch me play a lot but we never talked about anything until the last week before signing day. So things were very quiet for about the whole summer.

TT: One of the widely held beliefs throughout the media was that your mother was very interested in you passing up the pros for now and going to school. Was this true, and if so, how is she handling the decision to sign?

DF: Yeah my mom did really want me to go to school. Really my entire family did including my dad but I felt that I was ready for this challenge and just could not pass on an opportunity like this.

TT: Continuing on discussing the decision to turn pro, how difficult was it to sign on the dotted line knowing you had committed to helping an improving University of Michigan baseball program?

DF: It was a very difficult decision to make. I established a very good relationship with Coach Maloney and was excited about going to Michigan. He was the first person I called when I made the decision.

TT: Have you talked to Coach Maloney and those that recruited you since your decision to turn pro? (if so, can you elaborate a little on those discussions)

DF: I still talk to Coach Maloney now and I am good friends with guys on the team now. He just asks me how everything is going and we talked about a lot of other things too. I am actually going to make a trip to Ann Arbor to check out a practice here soon.

TT: Because of when you signed, it wasn't really practical for you to make your official pro debut last year, and as a result you got your first real taste during the Fall Instructional League. What was the biggest adjustment you faced as you tried to perform in camp last fall?

DF: The biggest thing for me was the speed of the game. I hadn't played a baseball game for a long time before Instructs so it was a little bit of an adjustment for me.

TT: What were some of the specifics that the coaches and instructors really focused on when they worked with you last fall?

DF: We focused a lot on my fielding. They really didn't mess with my swing at all when I was down in Florida.

TT: One of the common statements from scouts centers around your ability to remain at shortstop over the long term. How do you respond to those statements, and what do you believe you have to (or can) do to make sure you stay at the infield's toughest position?

DF: I really just try and work hard on my fielding to prove to people that I can stay at the position. I just want a chance at short and when I can't play it anymore then move to another position. This off season I worked with Dee Gordon who is in the Dodgers organization and plays shortstop.

TT: Finishing things off here, I want to give you the floor and the chance to close the interview in your words. This is your chance to leave Tiger fans and TigsTown readers with your final thoughts on whatever strikes you ...the floor is open.

DF: I would just say with a lot of hard work I am in the position that I always wanted to be in. I dreamed about this since I was little and am really excited for what lies ahead of me. And to everyone who had a dream to play pro ball like me, that if you work hard a lot of good things can happen for you and your dreams can become reality when you work for what you want.

TigsTown would like to thank Daniel for taking time out of his off-season to speak with us about getting his pro career started, the draft process, and the upcoming 2010 season. We wish him the best of luck during spring training and we can't wait to see him on the field in 2010!

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