RF Brad Hawpe
Rockies right-fielder took time to answer five questions for Tracy Ringolsby of insidetherockies.com.
Tracy: How much did getting to play every day against left-handed pitchers help you have success against lefties last year?
Brad: It was big. When you are in a platoon situation the only lefthanders you see are the specialists, who are in the game because they are so tough on left-handed hitters. When you face the starter you see more strikes. The guy is looking to get ahead in the count. The left-handed specialist wants to get you out and he’s throwing you his best pitch every pitch.
Tracy: Did the key hits off lefties in the 2007 stretch drive open the door for you?
Brad: The second half of 2007 I felt good against lefties. It gave me peace of mind. I was not getting that many at-bats, but I knew I had earned the manager’s confidence.
Tracy: Did you ever doubt yourself against left-handers?
Brad: No. A strike is a strike. As long as you swing at strikes you are going to be okay. Obviously there are differences in how you pick up the ball. You have to focus on seeing the ball. Whether it’s a left-hander or a right-hander if you swing at strikes and take balls you will be fine.
Tracy: How has playing every day helped you?
Brad: It makes a big difference for a player. You know each day you are going back out there. You relax.
Tracy: How much of a problem was the ankle you rolled the weekend before the season started last year?
Brad: It was a problem. But there are things that happen in this game and you have to deal with them. You play through a lot of aches and pains. That’s part of the game.