" I was not really worried about that at the time," Lis told TwinCitiesDugout.com on Wednesday. "I was more worried with getting up to the plate, and getting good at-bats. I was just trying to help my team win everyday, and work on my defense, which is a big thing for me. I really hoped to get off to a good start defensively this Spring Training as well."
Defense is something that Lis is starting to take pride in, and he is hoping that his defense will begin to catch up to his plate prowess. He has been seen taking numerous groundballs at first base so far this Spring, and he knows that working on his defense is key to his advancement through the system.
"Working on my defense was key for me," Lis explained. "So I worked on it a lot this off-season, and so far this Spring."
Being up north, Lis does not get the ability to get outside and work on his game, so it is often hard for him to work on his fielding. However, he is a gym rat, who looks like he has come to camp this spring in great shape.
"Well, being up north, it is hard to get outside because of the weather," Lis said. "One thing I do is just work out a lot, work on my flexibility, get in shape. I just try to get stronger for the season. I try to do as much as I can do inside. I just do a lot of tee work, and basically do the fundamental things to work on my swing."
His growth as a player has been evident, and he is the kind of hitter who is likely to always hit above .300. That is something he credits to a lot of mental, and physical work at the plate.
"One thing I am big on is getting a good pitch to hit," Lis said. "Just get a good pitch and try to make contact. I try not to beat myself up mentally. I try not to get too far in the count, and cut down on my strikeouts by not getting down on myself. I think I did a pretty good job of that last season."
Lis's success at the plate can be credited to his time, not only in the off-season, but also from his experience at Evansville University and his time playing in summer ball. He was older, and more mature when he came to the Twins, something he credits going to college for.
"I know, personally, that after my senior year of high school that I would not be ready for professional baseball," Lis explained. "Playing three years of college ball, and playing in wood bat leagues in the summer, really helped me mature as a hitter. I really think that it helped a lot."
This season, Lis knows that he can only control the things he can control, and he is focused on a few things. He does not worry what is around the corner for him, but rather continues to let his skills do the talking. However, he still keeps promotions in the back of his mind.
"My main goal is to just stay healthy," Lis told us. " I'm going to try to stay consistent, and play hard every game. Get through the ups and downs of the season, and hopefully get promoted."
TwinCitiesDugout.com would like to thank Erik Lis for taking the time to speak to us during Spring Training. We wish him, and the rest of the Twins Minor Leaguers, a healthy and productive 2007 season.