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Matt McBride transition article

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Matt McBride transition article

Postby dazindiansfanuk » Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:27 pm

It's subscriber only content, but I've got no problem posting it all.

HONOLULU—Despite labrum surgery in the offseason that limited his playing time over the summer, the Cleveland Indians aren't quite ready to let prospect Matt McBride give up catching just yet.

The 75th overall selection of the 2006 draft has been exclusively playing left field for the North Shore Honu of Hawaii Winter Baseball. He said the Indians want him to play the outfield for two reasons: To strengthen his arm and to learn a new position.

"It makes me more versatile, being able to play more than one position," McBride said. "But I'm still working on catching. I was in instructs for about a week. Did some catching there and (played) some outfield, so I'm sort of learning a new position out here. It's helping my arm build strength."

The native of Bethlehem, Pa., and product of Lehigh University said the injury was something that had built up over the years. He said he tried rehabilitation first, but the pain returned and he opted for surgery.

"We decided it was time to get it fixed so I could put it behind me and not worry about it again," he said. "Right now, my shoulder feels great. Since I got here, this is the best I've felt since surgery, so I'm really happy with the way things are going."

After 17 games in the rookie Gulf Coast League, McBride split time between high Class A Kinston and low Class A Lake County, playing in 17 and 11 games, respectively.

"I DHed pretty much the whole time," McBride said of his summer assignments. "I caught here and there, but my main goal this year is to get healthy and right now, I'm very happy with the progress I've made. The Indians' trainers did a good job of strengthening (my shoulder) and everything. It feels very good right now."

The transition seems to be smooth for McBride. Through Oct. 13, he has played in 12 of his team's 14 games, handling 20 total chances (19 putouts, one assist) without an error.

"It's a completely different mindset compared to catching, where you're always in the game, thinking about pitches, worried about blocking balls and different things," McBride said. "Outfield, you're more worried about positioning, getting reads and jumps on balls. I'm enjoying it."

The toughest play, he said, is the liner hit directly at him.

"Sometimes, it's hard to get a read on (the liners)," McBride said. "I think I'm getting a little better at it. As an outfielder, it's definitely been a tough adjustment, having balls come right at you on a line."

Offensively, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-handed hitter has been one of the more productive Honu. As of Oct. 13, he was hitting .273 with five doubles, a homer and nine RBI.

"I just want drive the ball more consistently," he said. "That's something I've been working on and (has been) coming along pretty well."

Like most players in HWB, this is McBride's first trip to Hawai'i. The players are staying in apartments in Waikiki, so there are a lot of activities nearby. On their off days, the players will venture to other popular tourist spots. Last week, he and some other players went to Waimea Bay on O'ahu's North Shore.

"I was definitely excited, mostly because I hardly played at all this season," McBride said of his assignment here. "I want to get more at-bats this season so going into next season, I wouldn't have missed the whole thing. And Hawai'i's just a place not too many people get to go to. It's beautiful out here."


http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/m ... 67036.html
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Re: Matt McBride transition article

Postby TonyIBI » Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:56 pm

I really think he can make the transition to the outfield because of his athleticism. Nice to see he is going well, and it makes sense actually to help strengthen his arm by having him make long throws from the outfield.

Outside chance I get him on my radio show next week with Matt Meyer.
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Re: Matt McBride transition article

Postby MadThinker88 » Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:28 pm

Reading the article, am I to understand that Matt will be back behind the plate in Kinston come 2009??
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Re: Matt McBride transition article

Postby petes999 » Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:08 pm

I thought I read something recently referring to him as one of the best defensive catchers in the year he was drafted. I am glad that he is getting shots elsewhere. However, if he is a good defender (or can be), I would leave him there and at worst he is a utility guy (backup catcher/outfielder). Plus, we are excited about Santana, however not all prospects work out. Thus, let Giminez and Toregas fight over the back-up role and Santana and McBride fight over who replaces Martinez in 2010 and Shoppach in 2011.
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Re: Matt McBride transition article

Postby TonyIBI » Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:28 am

http://www.indiansprospectinsider.com/2 ... n-and.html

I had a chance to talk with catcher/outfielder Matt McBride for about ten minutes this week. McBride is close to wrapping up play in Hawaii this offseason and has performed okay at the plate hitting .277 (31-for-112) with 3 HR, 20 RBI and a .786 OPS in 28 games. He also said the transition to the outfield is going well, and while it was to give him some versatility next year and also help with the rehab of his arm, he has no idea at the moment what position he will be playing next year since the Indians understandably have not told him what position he will be playing.

Farm Director Ross Atkins approached him about the move to the outfield just before Instructional League started back in September, and McBride was fired up for the opportunity. It is likely that McBride still catches next year, but we agreed that in any case he could see some time in the outfield at some point next year whether just on off days from catching or on a more consistent basis if the move is made to take him out from behind the plate permanently.

Also, McBride is locked in as a guest on an upcoming edition of Smoke Signals. No date has been determined, but he should be on anytime between the end of November and early January.
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