Thompson Fighting Through His Struggles

The leadoff hitter is usually the man that gets things started, gets on base, and scores runs for the team. While starting all but three games at leadoff this year, Columbus Clippers outfielder Kevin Thompson had been struggling this year until his three-hit game on Saturday. Through Saturday, he finally is getting his average back to near .300. What hurts the most however, is his surprisingly low .363 on-base percentage.

Thompson though, is aware of his struggles at the plate. "It's been up and down a little bit (this year), it's kind of frustrating a little bit," said Kevin Thompson before Thursday's home game against Louisville. "You kind of want it to be there all the time," said Thompson of his hitting.

His manager, Dave Miley agrees. "Kevin's in a little bit of a slump right now. But he's been working with (hitting coach) Kevin Long, and he's working hard."

Thompson also said he did not expect to struggle coming out of the gate. He said he had a great big league camp, and was excited about the experience coming into the season in Columbus.

"It was fun, I learned a lot from the older guys, and I got some exposure," said Thompson.

After becoming a draft pick of the Yankees in the 31st round in 1999, Thompson has risen through the ranks slowly but surely, and has had success at every level. Before starting in Trenton last year, he began his past two seasons at Tampa (A), hitting a combined .336. Last year he began his year in Trenton, and hit .329 in 81 games.

This year though has been a different story. Combined with his poor average prior to the weekend and on-base percentage, Thompson has struck out 17 times while walking only nine. He knows though, that he has the ability.

"They say that one of my biggest assets is my ability to hit, but I guess right now, I'm not really hitting well," said Thompson.

It may be the reason why he was penciled in to start Thursday night's game hitting number seven. It was the first time that he has batted anywhere in the order other than leadoff. Miley said however, that wasn't just because of Thompson's struggles.

"We've been going through kind of a rough time, and we just wanted a different look," said Miley of the switch.

This season, as Thompson has gone, so have the Clippers. Through his struggles this year, the Clippers now have lost 12 out of their last 15 games, including a road trip where they lost seven games by one run each. Thompson said it was a tough stretch, and felt he had a role in the losing streak.

"If I don't get on base, I can't score runs, and we don't put points on the board, it all comes hand in hand," said Thompson.

Despite his early season struggles, the 26-year-old outfielder is keeping his head up. While facing the first major slump of his career, Thompson is learning to make adjustments on the fly.

"I have to learn how to just stay on even keel, when hitting. Because sometimes you're not going to be hitting, and you can't get too down, because if you do, you're going to be in a bigger slump," said Thompson.

But it takes more than just sheer optimism to get into a groove. To lose this hitting slump, Thompson is putting in the maximum effort.

"My biggest concern right now is to work my through it," said Thompson. In Thursday's game, he finally broke through, hitting a three-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning before hitting his third home run of the year on Friday.

Whether his home runs in consecutive games will break him out of his cold streak remains to be seen, but Thompson wants to get to the majors.

"I have my sights set on the Majors. Of course you want to get better every day, but your sights are always set on the Majors. Nobody wants to be where they're at, unless you're at the ultimate, the Major Leagues," said Thompson.

Even though it's been tough going for him this year, Thompson says he's definitely learned a lot from this struggle. "My main thing is to stay faithful; just because the hitting isn't here right now, don't let your faith go, stay strong, and things are going to work out."

As an outfielder though, Thompson is aware of the possibility that his chance might come with another team. However, he knows that if he plays up to his abilities, the big leagues can't be too far away.

"As long as you play well, your chance is going to come," he said.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThompson though, is aware of his struggles at the plate. \"It's been up and down a little bit (this year), it's kind of frustrating a little bit,\" said Kevin Thompson before Thursday's home game against Louisville. \"You kind of want it to be there all the time,\" said Thompson of his hitting.
\r\n
\r\nHis manager, Dave Miley agrees. \"Kevin's in a little bit of a slump right now. But he's been working with (hitting coach) Kevin Long, and he's working hard.\"
\r\n
\r\nThompson also said he did not expect to struggle coming out of the gate. He said he had a great big league camp, and was excited about the experience coming into the season in Columbus.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was fun, I learned a lot from the older guys, and I got some exposure,\" said Thompson.
\r\n
\r\nAfter becoming a draft pick of the Yankees in the 31st round in 1999, Thompson has risen through the ranks slowly but surely, and has had success at every level. Before starting in Trenton last year, he began his past two seasons at Tampa (A), hitting a combined .336. Last year he began his year in Trenton, and hit .329 in 81 games.
\r\n
\r\nThis year though has been a different story. Combined with his poor average prior to the weekend and on-base percentage, Thompson has struck out 17 times while walking only nine. He knows though, that he has the ability.
\r\n
\r\n\"They say that one of my biggest assets is my ability to hit, but I guess right now, I'm not really hitting well,\" said Thompson.
\r\n
\r\nIt may be the reason why he was penciled in to start Thursday night's game hitting number seven. It was the first time that he has batted anywhere in the order other than leadoff. Miley said however, that wasn't just because of Thompson's struggles.
\r\n
\r\n\"We've been going through kind of a rough time, and we just wanted a different look,\" said Miley of the switch.
\r\n
\r\nThis season, as Thompson has gone, so have the Clippers. Through his struggles this year, the Clippers now have lost 12 out of their last 15 games, including a road trip where they lost seven games by one run each. Thompson said it was a tough stretch, and felt he had a role in the losing streak.
\r\n
\r\n\"If I don't get on base, I can't score runs, and we don't put points on the board, it all comes hand in hand,\" said Thompson.
\r\n
\r\nDespite his early season struggles, the 26-year-old outfielder is keeping his head up. While facing the first major slump of his career, Thompson is learning to make adjustments on the fly.
\r\n
\r\n\"I have to learn how to just stay on even keel, when hitting. Because sometimes you're not going to be hitting, and you can't get too down, because if you do, you're going to be in a bigger slump,\" said Thompson.
\r\n
\r\nBut it takes more than just sheer optimism to get into a groove. To lose this hitting slump, Thompson is putting in the maximum effort.
\r\n
\r\n\"My biggest concern right now is to work my through it,\" said Thompson. In Thursday's game, he finally broke through, hitting a three-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning before hitting his third home run of the year on Friday.
\r\n
\r\nWhether his home runs in consecutive games will break him out of his cold streak remains to be seen, but Thompson wants to get to the majors.
\r\n
\r\n\"I have my sights set on the Majors. Of course you want to get better every day, but your sights are always set on the Majors. Nobody wants to be where they're at, unless you're at the ultimate, the Major Leagues,\" said Thompson.
\r\n
\r\nEven though it's been tough going for him this year, Thompson says he's definitely learned a lot from this struggle. \"My main thing is to stay faithful; just because the hitting isn't here right now, don't let your faith go, stay strong, and things are going to work out.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs an outfielder though, Thompson is aware of the possibility that his chance might come with another team. However, he knows that if he plays up to his abilities, the big leagues can't be too far away.
\r\n
\r\n\"As long as you play well, your chance is going to come,\" he said. 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