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Batters Box caught up with JP Arencibia a week ago in Fort Myers.  Arencibia talked with us about the draft, working with Greg Zaun and catching BJ Ryan.

BB. Before the draft last year did you know the Blue Jays were interested in picking you?

JA. I had an idea they were very interested in picking me with one of their first few picks.  There were a few teams interested in me and I knew the Blue Jays were one of them.

BB. So it wasn't a surprise when the Jays picked you?

JA. No, the opportunity to be even drafted is exciting and to be considered one of the top players in the country is a great opportunity and a great blessing so even though you know what teams are interested, come draft day it is still exciting.

BB. Did you find your first year of pro ball much of a step up from college ball?

JA: Not really it is still the same game.  The pitchers are a little more consistent and as far as using wood bats I had done that for two summers with the US national team. 

BB. Defensively your workload has increased as a professional

JA. Yes you have to learn your body more.  You learn how to give your body a break, not to go too crazy, take it a little easier on your body and cherish those days off.  You have to concentrate on flushing your body and staying hydrated, that was the biggest adjustment but as far as catching it is three more games per week.

BB. Last year you won a title with Auburn had you won anything before?

JA. The summer before with team USA we won the gold medal at the world games but obviously winning the league title last year was awesome.

BB. Do you have any specific goals coming into this season?

JA. I am just trying to play the game and have fun.  Sometimes you get too caught up in stuff and you forget it is a game and you get away from the things that got you here and I think that's what I want to do this year is to do the things that got me here and not go too crazy or think about too many things, just go out there and have fun and enjoy the opportunity that I have as a professional athlete to play every day.

BB. Were you expecting to come to Dunedin to start this year?

JA. I was expecting to come to Dunedin, that was somewhere where I thought I would be able to start.  I feel it is a good place to start.

BB. Have you noticed much difference with the pitchers here compared to Auburn?

JA. They are more consistent with their strikes, I think that is the biggest difference.  I think a lot of the guys that were in the NY Penn league are here now so other than the consistent strikes not much difference.

BB. Defensively what have the Jays asked you to work on?

JA. We have been working on cleaning up some of the stuff I was raw with, learning new stances, it has helped me throw out guys and made my game that much better.

BB. Were you involved with the major league camp at spring training?

JA. Yes, it was awesome and a great experience to see how they went about their business and how they handled situations, those guys were awesome.  Greg Zaun in particular took me under his wing and he was very helpful in taking me out there and working on things with me and working with me in the weight room, showing me how it goes, he was extremely nice to me.

BB. What is it like to catch major league pitchers like BJ Ryan?

JA. They are awesome to catch, they know what they want to do and they have a plan, they go out there and execute what they want to do.  It makes my job easier.  I have caught Ryan a few times so that makes it easier, he has two pitches so that makes it easier.  It was an honour to catch those guys.

BB. What have you seen in Brett Cecil?

JA. He has great stuff and he's got a lot of poise on the mound, he has a great mound presence and he is not scared of anybody and he challenges every batter, one through nine, the same.  And he is gifted with some of the best stuff I have ever caught.

BB. Kenny Rodriguez struggled in the first inning last night but settled down later.

JA. I think in the first inning he maybe tried to overthink some things and threw the wrong pitch in the situation but he adjusted well and he gave us a chance to win the game.

BB. How was Chacin last time out?

JA. It is tough to come off surgery, that's not easy, he still has some things to tighten up.  But he has good stuff but right now it's not about numbers for Chacin he just needs to get his work in and get his arm strength back and that's the biggest thing he is worried about.

BB. Who is the hardest thrower on the team?

JA. It has to be Cecil, he runs it up there 94-95.

Batters Box thanks JP Arencibia for talking with us.

An Interview with JP Arencibia | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 09:29 AM EDT (#183238) #
Nicely done, Gerry.
ayjackson - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 10:05 AM EDT (#183242) #

Can we get a translation from Jose C. on "showing me how it goes [in the weight room]"?

Another great interview Gerry!  You're really rolen now?!?

Mylegacy - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 01:59 PM EDT (#183261) #

Great work Gerry!

Who is Kevin Sliwinski, you say? Back in the early eighties when I first started to notice the young Jays - I was an Expos fan at the time - I started to research their minor league guys and they had this great young hitter named Kevin Sliwinski- he played some SS, 1st base etc. At Knoxville in 1986, for instance, he hit over 300 and was second to Glenallen Hill with over 20 dingers. I loved the guy. Apparently, I was the only one that did. He never made it to the bigs. I couldn't understand why he never got a shot at the bigs.

It was at about that same time that I was into Bill James and Basball America (still love 'em both) and I learned that my friend Kevin was hitting well because he was older than most of the guys at the levels he was playing at. He was a good player but was excelling becasue of his age and maturity. It taught me that it's not just how a guy does at a certain level BUT how old is he when compared to his peers.

Ever since I first got interested in baseball I've loved following the kids as they make their way - hopefully - to the show. Gerry, articles like yours get to the very heart of my love for the game, the team and our system. Again, many thanks.

Excalabur - Tuesday, April 22 2008 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#183267) #
Nice article: it's good to see prospects saying the right things.

One correction: three Gs in Gregg for Zaun.

An Interview with JP Arencibia | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.