Q&A with Kevin Thompson

Kevin Thompson may not be the guy that everyone thinks about when talking about great prospects. However, what Thompson does have is the makeup of a solid all around ballplayer that could be a nice piece to a Major League ballclub. Thompson sat down with PinstripesPlus.com to discuss his future.

PinstripesPlus: You had an injury that caused you to start the 2004 season on the disabled list. Tell us a little about that injury.

Kevin Thompson: Yeah, that was a rough time for me. I had to start off on the DL. I had surgery in the off season because I had some really bad bone spurs in my elbow. It was really bothering me for a while so we figured it would be best just to go in there and get it fixed. But, once I got back playing for the Tampa Yankees I had to DH for a while. I couldn't throw or anything.

PP: So, there are no recurring problems from that injury?

Thompson: No, I'm fine now. But, it was a long process of recovery. It wasn't just like go in there, fix it and then I got right back out there on the field. It was a long recovery but the surgery needed to be done. I'm definitely 100% healthy now though.

PP: Has the organization given you any indication as to where you will begin the 2005 season?

Thompson: Well, it looks like it is probably going to be Columbus. If it isn't, that is fine too. Where I play does not change how I play and how hard I work to improve. But, at this point, it looks like it is going to be AAA Columbus. To me, that is one step closer to fulfilling my goal. Whatever way I can break in is fine with me. I just want to get up to the show. AAA is just another step.

PP: There has been some thoughts that you may have a chance of winning a reserve outfield spot for the big club. Have you heard anything about that?

Thompson: I have heard the whispers about it, yeah. It looks like that job will belong to Bubba Crosby but I've heard that I have a chance of getting called up during the season. I don't know, really. I'd be thrilled just to get a chance to break in this year. It would be a dream come true. I'd do whatever they needed me to do to the best of my ability.

PP: Do you believe you will get an invite to the big league spring training camp?

Thompson: Well, I'm not too sure I'll get an invitation. But, what I think I will get is a chance to play a few games with them. That is definitely possible. But, I'm not going to be disappointed if that doesn't happen because I'll just work hard wherever I play. That's the type of player I am. There is nothing that is going to be a letdown for me. I'm prepared for anything.

PP: Some have called you the best defensive outfielder in the Yankee system. Do you agree with that?

Thompson: It is certainly a nice compliment. I don't know if I'm the best but I just know what my job is when I jog out to the outfield. That is the mindset I have. I just have to remember that my job is just to catch the ball. I just try to keep things as simple as possible. If people think I'm the best in the system, that sounds great to me.

PP: You have become well known as a major base stealing threat. How much pride do you take in being successful in that area?

Thompson: Oh, I love it. Stealing bases has always been a major part of my game. I have always had the speed to do it, but learning how to do it right was the important thing. The idea of stealing bases at will is something that I want. I think if I keep working at it, I'll be able to be a really big threat on the bases. I think being able to steal bases is something that separates me. It is not something that everyone can do and it makes me happy that I'm someone who can do it. Base stealing is much more of a rare ability. I feel it helps my chances as a big leaguer because teams will say they're interested in me because I can do something that most players can't.

PP: What would you say to a role similar to what Dave Roberts was to the Boston Red Sox last year?

Thompson: Oh man, I would love that. First, I would take any role if it meant playing in the big leagues. But, base stealing is something I am really, really good at. So, yeah, it would be great if something like that were to happen. It would be great coming off the bench as a pinch runner. I would jump at that role in a second, no doubt about it.

PP: What type of improvements are your trying to make for this coming season?

Thompson: Well, for me, it is a never ending process. You want to know my goal? I'd like to become the full package. That may never happen but I want to come as close to that as I possibly can.

PP: We've heard from your coaches that you are one of the most diligent and hard working players they have ever been around. What are your thoughts on that?

Thompson: I feel that learning things from others and trying to get better from there is the only way to improve yourself as a player. I like to pick people's brains and see what they have to say. Then, I go work on that stuff a little more. Like I said, it is a never ending process. Whatever it takes to become a Major League ballplayer, I am willing to do.

PP: Tell us a little about your outstanding season in the Arizona Fall League in 2004.

Thompson: First of all, that was a great experience and we had a lot of fun. What made it even more fun is how well I performed. I think it all started falling into place during the last two weeks of the regular season in Trenton. I was working with Craig Wilson and some of other older guys. During those two weeks I must have raised my batting average a bunch of points. So, I really had my swing going well heading into the fall league. From there, things just fell into place well and I had a really great run down there.

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