Sometimes it just takes a kick in the pants to get things going. Two nights after showing no signs…
Q&A with Lugnuts Catcher David Corrente
ITD: Dave, can you give us a quick scouting report on yourself? What kind of hitter do you consider yourself and how would you rate yourself defensively as a catcher? David Corrente: I consider myself more as a contact hitter. I can do the hit and run, I can bunt guys over and I like to hit the ball to the right center gap. Whatever the situation is, I like to use my at bat for that situation. Catching wise, I feel like my receiving has come a long way. I think that my strong point is my catch and throw. The biggest part of my learning and development so far has just been learning how to handle pitching staffs. Just knowing each pitcher and knowing the other team and situational pitching has been such a huge part of my development. I'm learning everyday because there are new situations that come up every single day, but it is a lot of fun too. ITD: You kind of touched on it already, but how long does it take for you to get comfortable with your pitching staff and know what they like to do in certain situations? David Corrente: Early on in the season, it will take a couple of weeks just to find out what everybody can do. Just figuring out what each pitcher is able to handle, what situations they can handle, what their best pitch in certain situations. We get a good feel in spring training, but still guys are scattered around in spring training. It's also not a true test you know? It isn't the bottom of the ninth with one out. You get a feel for your starters rather quickly, but for your whole pitching staff, it takes a couple of weeks. We hold daily meetings just to go through each pitchers game and get a feel for what he was thinking which is good because all the pitchers get to learn from each other. ITD: You came in here as a back up catcher, and didn't get in very much at the beginning of the season. With the promotion of Curtis (Thigpen), you have been playing everyday. How good does it feel to finally get your opportunity? David Corrente: I knew coming in what my role was going to be this season, so I didn't come in expecting to play three or four games in a row. I know they wanted Curtis to get his time in, and he proved that he can play at this level. I did what I could. I came in and played, and I got my at bats in, and I just waited for my opportunity. I took it one at bat and one game at a time. I'm still learning and I'm still finding out about myself. But it does feel great, and I just want to carry it on the rest of the season and help get us into the playoffs. ITD: Being a Canadian guy and getting a chance to play in the Blue Jays organization, how important is that for you to play for the only Canadian organization left in the Major Leagues? David Corrente: I think that it is very big. It would be a lot of fun to make it to Toronto as a Canadian. I think that Canada and Toronto would be proud of any Canadian coming into play. I think everyone has really enjoyed (Corey) Koskie coming over, and he has just been a tremendous talent for the big league club. It would be an honor to play for the Jays and strap on a Jays uniform for my first big league appearance. ITD: A question to kind of go along on that subject, Canada has Koskie which you mentioned above, Jason Bay, Eric Bedard and a few others in the Major Leagues. Do you think that the talent in Canada may be a little overlooked do to the fact that it is in the north and the season is shorter than what teams down south play with? David Corrente: Definitely. If you look at the Baseball America that came out two issues ago, they had a projection for all the World Cup teams and who might represent them, and Canada looked very, very strong. With starters like Jason Bay and Eric Gagne, and the pitching staff. All throughout, you've got Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, and there is a lot of talent there, but it is tough for many teams to get up there to see them. I go home and I practice with a lot of these guys. I practice with my old Team Ontario coaches and there's a lot of talent there. It is definitely over looked. I think that guys are starting to figure out that you have to come down to the states sometime to really show your stuff. I think that we are going to be very strong. Much stronger over the next couple of years with the coaching and the scouting that we have up there. ITD: The team has kind of been struggling lately, but the last two games of this home stand, you guys have come out and scored 28 runs. What do you think is the biggest thing that you can attribute to that turnaround? David Corrente: I think just going out there with a lot of confidence. When you lose three, four or five games in a row like we did, it is tough to come back and just brush it off because we want to win so bad. We've lost and we are still only 4.0 games out of a playoff spot with 30 games to go so there is a lot of baseball to play. If we walk onto that field with our shoulders up and our heads high, we might not score ten runs a night, but at least if we lose, we're going to give it our best shot. Our goal is just to win this month. If we can come out winning this month, then that will give us a shot to get into the playoffs, and teams that are rolling going into the playoffs generally have the best chance to win. Our guys are playing hard and our pitchers are keeping us in games. The next series we're going to be going up against a divisional team, so we are excited about that. We just want to keep going with this feeling because we don't want this to stop. ITD: I know Ken (Joyce) came out here earlier this series and really jumped onto you guys. Is that something that you think the team needed at that time? David Corrente: Definitely. It's not the first time. Hopefully it is the last, but everyone needs a little fire under their butt every once in awhile. Ken knows when to do that and he knows the time to do it and he knows who can handle that. I think we all just came out of that and said ‘All right, that's it, we're going to go out on that field and do everything that we can to win these games.' Ken has been great for that. He knows every player and what they can do and what they can handle. It's just a big part of the managerial skills. ITD: With the season basically ¾ gone, how do you feel you are holding up physically? David Corrente: The last two or three weeks since I have been playing more, I can definitely feel it. I couldn't imagine right now playing 140 or 150 games catching, but I'm staying strong. We've got workouts every couple of days. You've got to get rest your know. You can't stay up until 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. It's a little weary, but my mind is strong and if anything needs to be strong, it is my mind at this point of the season, because it gets tougher. I'm starting to get more at bats, and starting to be behind the plate more, so my head has to be in it if anything. If my head is strong, my body is strong. ITD: You've been floating around the season for a little while now. Have you learned anything from this season about yourself that you may have to adjust the way you prepare in your off season conditioning? David Corrente: Last year, I really focused a lot on my legs. I did a lot of running and I lost a lot of weight and that is probably what is helping me now as far as not being tired. My legs are not really tired to tell you the truth. My whole body has gotten tired, but my legs have been able to stay strong. I think that this off season, I'm going to go about half the time with the running, and I'm really going to hit the weights and get stronger. I feel that with myself being 21 that in the next couple of years, I'm going to hit my peak physically. If I can hit the weights and gain a little bit of muscle mass, and keep up my conditioning, then being behind the plate, I'll be quicker the whole season. I won't be physically as drained. The program that they have set up for us is great. It doesn't kill us in the off season, but it gives us what we need for spring training coming in. Going down to spring training early is really big for me. ITD: How early do you typically go down for spring training? David Corrente: The last couple of years, I've been going down in February, so I'm not jumping off a plane going from zero degree weather to warm weather and then swinging a bat. I'm able to long toss down there, because I can't long toss in the snow. I've also been able to catch a lot of big league guys who have come down early. This off season I was able to talk a lot with Greg Zaun, and (Ken) Huckaby and Greg Myers and (Guillermo) Quiroz. All those guys where just awesome taking us in. I was actually in big league camp for a week, just to catch some of the big league guys. Those guys are a little older, so they would catch one or two bullpens and then we would get the rest. Just the experience of being around those guys and seeing what it takes day in and day out to be a big leaguer was just an incredible experience. I've learned a lot from those guys and hopefully I'm able to talk to them again next year and do the same thing.
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