Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spring Training Notes: Tony Clark

Tony Clark, an addition that could turn out to be one of the most underrated moves this offseason, talked about being able to play for the Padres and on the NL West.

On playing for the Padres: "I'm looking forward to it. I grew up at Jack Murphy Stadium and had an opportunity to watch the Dave Winfield's, the Tony Gwynn's and Gene Richards of the world. Although I wasn't close to the field, I always wondered what it would be like to be on the same field with them. Now, having an opportunity to wear my hometown uniform and being able to be on the field at Petco Park, it's something me and my family are excited about."

On the NL West: "I know every year when I was in Arizona, we started the season expecting the season to come down to the last few weeks because all the teams were fairly well lined up. I don't expect this year to be any different, the team that can play the most consistant baseball, down the stretch especially, is going to seperate themselves and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't have an opportunity to be the last team standing when it's all said and done."

On his pinch hitting role with the team: "There's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes in to my job, whether it be in the video room, whether it be additional work in the cages or on the field. All in preperation for that one at bat, that one pitch late in the ball game, in hopes of taking the one swing that makes the difference. Each day is a little bit different, preperation is usually the same especially with respect to a team in a 3 or 4-game series when you have a history off some of those guys coming out of the bullpen. A lot of work, I find the less at bats you get, the more work you have to put in to try and be prepared for that one opportunity to make a contribution."

On how he handles a pinch hit in a big role: "You control the controllables. I can't control where the ball is going to go or if it's going to fall in. What I can control, what I just talked about, is my preperation prior to the at bat. So that when I get in the box, I have a game plan, and it's simply a matter of trying to execute that game plan to the best of my ability in hopes that he doesn't execute his as well as I execute mine. You can't control the outcome, but the preperation prior to the at bat is going to give you the opportunity to be successful in those situations."

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