Thursday, April 26, 2012

Interview With Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Nieuwenhuis talking with the media.
Before Wednesday's game, Kirk Nieuwenhuis talked with reporters and bloggers. Here's a transcript of most of that interview.

In the clubhouse, who is your biggest influence? Who do you go to the most to talk about hitting, fielding, or adjusting to the major league life?

There's a lot of guys , and that's the great thing, I think, about this clubhouse. There's so many guys I can go to. You know as a young guy, you always want to lean on your teammates for advice, for stuff like that. We have so many guys like that, you know Murph, and Thole, and Duda, and even David, you know there's just so many guys.

Is there something comforting coming up to a major league team and playing with X teammates in the minors? Does that make it easier for you?

I think so. You know, I can only speak from my experience, and it's been nothing but great. Being with guys that I've been around a little bit in spring training the past two or three years, and then also playing with Duda and Ike in the minor's been nothing but great.

You were a football player in high school. Heavily recruited?

Yeah, more so than baseball.

Do you still have the bug to get hit? 

Yeah, I miss it, but I'm thankful to be here for sure. I miss it. I love watching Saturdays and Sundays in the fall.

If you were still playing football, would you have graduated college by now?


So you would already be in the NFL?

[Laughs] Hopefully yeah. I'd like to think so, but you never know. That's a whole different sport. That's a tough world.

Did you play with anyone who was in the draft, or who's in the NFL now?

No, I never played college ball, so no I didn't. I played high school ball in Colorado. It's a smaller school.

What sort of numbers did you put up?

I don't remember. We won states my junior year, and then my offensive line graduated.

Being here now, do you feel like you fit in, like in terms of the locker room and pitching? Nothing's intimidating you at all?

No. These guys are unbelievable. I think you have to really try and keep it in perspective and try not to be intimidated, but at the same time have respect for these guys that have been coming in for so long, and it takes a lot to stay up here as long as they have. Guys that have been around the game for so long. You have to have respect for those kind of guys. It comes natural for anybody who's around the game to do that.

Do you study pitchers a lot? Are you a studier when it comes to film work and the book on pitchers?

I think so. Obviously I  haven't seen too many of these guys so I rely on film and stuff like that, but nothing can substitute for the real thing and seeing guys yourself. I try to study all the film and everything.

Are you mostly like a see the ball, hit the ball kind of guy, and just react, or would you go to expect a curveball in the dirt with two strikes on you?

Everybody's different. You have to have a game plan when you go up there, but at the same time you have to realize that different guys are different. Some guys like to elevate a fastball with two strikes. Some guys like to bury it in the dirt. Josh Johnson did that pretty well last night.

How would you compare the pitching up here with what you've seen in the minor leagues? 

Just more consistent.

Speed-wise about the same? Velocity about the same?

Some guys. There's definitely a lot of guys who bring it a little bit better up here, but it's just more consistent.

There's talk about moving you to left field when [Andres] Torres is ready to play. Are you good with that?

That's a bridge we'll cross when we get to it. I haven't heard anything, so I can't really say anything.

Have you played much left field in your life?

Not really. I played more right than left, but I'll play wherever they put me.

How would you describe life in the big leagues? 

It's an honor to be up here. I think, really, the best way I can describe it is it's such an honor to be a part of this clubhouse and a part of Major League Baseball.

Baseball is baseball. Big stadiums, nice clubhouses, better life. You're probably stuck in a hotel. What's it like? If somebody asks you, what's life like? 

It's a lot of fun. It's something that you dream about as a kid, and here you are living it for a little bit. It's unbelievable.

Easy to adjust to right away? 

I wouldn't say easy, but it's a lot of fun. Making those adjustments has been a lot of fun, and you have to keep it in perspective.

When you step in the batters box, is it just baseball?

In the first at-bat, and the first few games, it was a little bit nerve-wracking, but once you get in the box you're so focused on the pitcher and on the situation on the game that you try not to let other things effect you.

Did you get a kick out of it last night when people were asking you about the great catch you made only a couple days after everyone was asking you about the ball that fell in on Saturday?

That's baseball for you. It's a crazy game and you just try and minimize those mistakes and give your team the best chance to win.

The cliche is that you learn from them. Do you learn from anything that happens?

Yeah, for sure. I think any time something like that happens you have to take it as a learning experience and move on. If you dwell on it then you're going to miss another one.

Do you remember Kurt Gibson when he played? 

Yeah, a little bit. I've heard a lot about him and stuff like that. I heard he was a football guy...but other than that, I just remember his running the bases at Dodger Stadium.

Did you have a favorite when you were growing up?

Ken Griffey Jr. I always watched Griffey and Jim Edmonds. Those were my favorites to watch. Larry Walker, Todd Helton. Just being from Colorado, watching them was a lot of fun.

Did you get to pick number 9, or did they just hand that to you?

They picked it for me.     

Good number?

Great number.

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