Almonte More Focused

TAMPA, FL - Outfielder Zoilo Almonte has long had the tools to be a very productive player, in fact proving to be a dangerous hitter for long stretches over the course of his minor league career. He just hasn't been consistent to date but after hitting .333 in big league camp an opening some eyes there, he feels his focus is getting better.

"I think it went well," Almonte said of big league camp through the help of a translator. "I was able to make some adjustments and it paid off in the games.

"I got a couple of good hits. I made adjustments to the mental game, my mental training, that was the biggest thing."

Long lauded for his physical tools, if there's been a criticism of his game over the years it has been his spells where he perhaps seems to passive at times and not consistently focused. Almonte thinks that has changed in 2012.

"Up there everybody is focused on something," he added. "It rubs off on all of the players and now I am [more] focused.

"It's not just hitting. I have to keep working on everything else and keep working at it just to put everything together for the game. It's not just hitting, it's everything."

Whether he received the proverbial shot in the arm after having a daughter or being able to see how the big leaguers go about their game, something just seems different about Almonte in the early going this camp.

Despite getting called down to minor league camp this past weekend where the old Almonte might have just been grateful for the opportunity, he kept his hot hitting going, clubbing a 96 mph fastball from Pirates' top prospect Gerritt Cole for a booming home run while batting left-handed to left-centerfield in Sunday's minor league game.

"I didn't really try to hit it over there," he admitted. "I just tried to put a good swing on the ball and thank God it just went over."

It's not just his hitting where he has shown better focus. He reported to camp this year in perhaps the greatest shape he's ever been in, shedding some pounds and adding some strength.

"Obviously I worked out a bit more to look good and for the game," he said. "I needed to do that to play a little bit better. I feel lighter when I'm running the bases and I feel stronger."

He says he lost just five pounds but he's noticeably stronger than before and that's good news after hitting a career-high 15 home runs last season.

Traditionally a player who initially struggles once he moves up to a new level but seemingly turns it around in a hurry in his second tour of duty the following year, past history suggests he's in line for a standout performance in Trenton this coming season.

"The only thing I can do is play hard everyday in practice and in the games. What's going to happen is what's going to happen, I can't predict anything. I'm going to do what I can and see what the outcome is."

Now a member of the 40-man roster, while he can't control if and when he gets called up or even if he can have the kind of breakout season he'll be looking for, a more focused Almonte now just wants to get after it.

"What I have in mind is control what I can control and that's playing hard. Everything else will take care of itself if I do that.

"I'm not going to think about going up or down, I'm just going to go there focused, play my game, and other people are going to make those decisions," he concluded.

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I think it went well,\" Almonte said of big league camp through the help of a translator. \"I was able to make some adjustments and it paid off in the games.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got a couple of good hits. I made adjustments to the mental game, my mental training, that was the biggest thing.\"
\r\n
\r\nLong lauded for his physical tools, if there's been a criticism of his game over the years it has been his spells where he perhaps seems to passive at times and not consistently focused. Almonte thinks that has changed in 2012.
\r\n
\r\n\"Up there everybody is focused on something,\" he added. \"It rubs off on all of the players and now I am [more] focused.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's not just hitting. I have to keep working on everything else and keep working at it just to put everything together for the game. It's not just hitting, it's everything.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhether he received the proverbial shot in the arm after having a daughter or being able to see how the big leaguers go about their game, something just seems different about Almonte in the early going this camp.
\r\n
\r\nDespite getting called down to minor league camp this past weekend where the old Almonte might have just been grateful for the opportunity, he kept his hot hitting going, clubbing a 96 mph fastball from Pirates' top prospect Gerritt Cole for a booming home run while batting left-handed to left-centerfield in Sunday's minor league game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't really try to hit it over there,\" he admitted. \"I just tried to put a good swing on the ball and thank God it just went over.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt's not just his hitting where he has shown better focus. He reported to camp this year in perhaps the greatest shape he's ever been in, shedding some pounds and adding some strength.
\r\n
\r\n\"Obviously I worked out a bit more to look good and for the game,\" he said. \"I needed to do that to play a little bit better. I feel lighter when I'm running the bases and I feel stronger.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe says he lost just five pounds but he's noticeably stronger than before and that's good news after hitting a career-high 15 home runs last season.
\r\n
\r\nTraditionally a player who initially struggles once he moves up to a new level but seemingly turns it around in a hurry in his second tour of duty the following year, past history suggests he's in line for a standout performance in Trenton this coming season.
\r\n
\r\n\"The only thing I can do is play hard everyday in practice and in the games. What's going to happen is what's going to happen, I can't predict anything. I'm going to do what I can and see what the outcome is.\"
\r\n
\r\nNow a member of the 40-man roster, while he can't control if and when he gets called up or even if he can have the kind of breakout season he'll be looking for, a more focused Almonte now just wants to get after it.
\r\n
\r\n\"What I have in mind is control what I can control and that's playing hard. Everything else will take care of itself if I do that.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm not going to think about going up or down, I'm just going to go there focused, play my game, and other people are going to make those decisions,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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