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Q&A with Matt Carson

Battle Creek outfielder Matt Carson sits down with for a Q&A session to give us his thoughts on being drafted by the Yankees, who has been his biggest influence in his development as a hitter, what it was like being sent down from Tampa to Battle Creek and how he took the "demotion", and Matt even gives a scouting report on himself. <b>Free Preview of Premium Content</b>

PinstripesPlus: The Yankees drafted you in 2002 in the fifth round. What was your experience on being drafted by this historic organization?

Matt Carson: I am just so happy and it is such a proud feeling. I just want to work as hard as I can and do the best of my abilities to prove I was worth being drafted.

PinstripesPlus: You keep on delivering late inning at bats and clutch hits. To what do you attribute that to?

Matt Carson: Probably just being more selective at the plate and as a result am getting better pitches to hit and just take better swings. I actually made a change in my swing since coming down from Tampa and I think it is helping me all around, in terms of hitting for more average, and not striking out as much. Before I had a real long, loopy swing and it took my bat a while to reach the hitting zone, which resulted in bad at bats and in my high strikeout rates. I have worked really hard with my hitting coaches and I have changed my swing. It is now a much shorter swing and a more direct swing. As a result my bat comes quicker through the zone and I can sit back a little longer on pitches which makes hitting all that easier for me.

PinstripesPlus: You began the season at Tampa but struggled a little and went back to Battle Creek. What do you think resulted in the struggle?

Matt Carson: Well I think it was a number of things. First of all the pitching is a lot tougher and I had trouble to adjusting to it in that period of time. Also the ball park was a tougher place to hit and I just didn't get used to it. Basically what it boils down to was my confidence. As I kept making outs my confidence was going down as well, and the organization felt it would be better to move me to Battle Creek so I can build up some of that confidence. They decided that I needed a fresh start and I got that in Battle Creek. I feel that I have built up my confidence right now to the point that I know I can hit at the higher level.

PinstripesPlus: The knock on you has been your high strikeout ratio last season. Did you try to work and improve on that during the off-season?

Matt Carson: Yea…Well I just don't think I was concentrating enough at the plate when the season began. It is funny because in Spring Training last year I only struck out one time, and then the season began and I was striking out much frequently. I guess they say I strikeout too many times and I don't draw walks as much. Maybe if I have more patience at the plate I will lower my strikeout rate and at the same time draw more walks, and get on base more.

PinstripesPlus: How tough has it been to maintain this type of positive attitude after being sent down a level?

Matt Carson: In a way it is tough at first but to be successful you need to get over it. Face it, nobody wants to be sent down, however as the same time part of minor league baseball is knowing and learning how to deal with failure. When I got here to Battle Creek my manager told me I can do one of two things. I could feel sorry for myself and just sit around doing nothing all day, or I can make this work for me and just work extra harder to improve. I guess I chose the second path [laughing].

PinstripesPlus: Matt Carson is no longer a player but a scout. He is scouting Matt Carson. What does this scout see in the player?

Matt Carson: Well [laughing] I am a solid outfielder, I don't have blazing speed, however take good routes at the ball. I have a decent arm which is good enough for right field. All I know is don't throw me a fastball [laughing] because it will go a long way, however if you want to get me out throw me a slider, because I will probably strike out.

PinstripesPlus: What is the difficulty in hitting the slider?

Matt Carson: I just don't recognize it well off the pitchers hand. I guess you can say one of my main problems is recognizing the ball off the pitchers hand, picking up the seams and the spin of the ball. At this point I pick up the ball too late and that just results in outs. I am working hard to pick up the ball much earlier in the delivery and when that occurs I think I will be on my way.

PinstripesPlus: Will that come as you get more experience at the plate?

Matt Carson: Yea, I am also trying to do the same while taking batting practice. Even though it is batting practice I try to get my self used to picking up the ball, the seam, the spin and that stuff. I am just trying to help myself out each way I can.

PinstripesPlus: Do you look forward to another chance at Tampa, and when do you think that will be?

Matt Carson: Well the Yankees are really big at winning throughout the organization. We are now in a playoff race, and Tampa already has a good mixture of outfielders so I probably will stay here the rest of the year, however I definitely like playing here, it is a lot of fun.

PinstripesPlus: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned playing professional baseball?

Matt Carson: That it is a real grind. You have 1-2 days off a month. Playing every day for 3 months and every day for 5 months in a long season league it just really tough when you are coming from college and playing just couple times a week. The big thing you need to learn is to keep yourself healthy. You just have to take care of your body because you don't get many chances to prove yourself, and if you get hurt teams won't wait for you as much.

PinstripesPlus: If there is one thing you want Yankee fans to know about you, what would it be?
Matt Carson: That I enjoy winning and am so happy I can be in an organization that is all about winning.

PinstripesPlus: Who do you credit the most for your development as a hitter?

Matt Carson: My father. He just always encouraged me. Whatever I needed he was always there for me. Whether it was lessons, equipment he just never said no.

PinstripesPlus: When did you begin playing baseball?

Matt Carson: I started at eight years old, I played before that however....nothing organized.

PinstripesPlus: When did you realize you actually have a chance to play professional baseball?

Matt Carson: My senior year in High School. A few scouts talked to me and asked me if I would like to be drafted. At that point I just really wanted to attend college [BYU]. In my first year at BYU I just put up big numbers and from that point just started getting constant attention from scouts.

PinstripesPlus: What part of your game do you work on the hardest?

Matt Carson: Definitely my hitting at batting practice. For some guys it just seems they don't need to work as hard and it comes natural for others. You just have to work hard all day to improve. I guess I am one of those guys. would like to thank Matt Carson to taking the time to answer our questions.

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