Jordan Renz: I lifted a lot harder than I did last year. I ran a lot more. I ate a lot better. I tried to do everything better than last year. Hitting-wise, I am just going with a different approach this year than last year. I struck out a lot last year. I want to change that. With two strikes I am going to try and bear down a little more. Instead of trying to get an extra-base hit all the time, I am going to try and put the ball in play. I worked on that this off-season.
Where is the balance? You want to cut down on the strikeouts but you also want to keep the power because that is an essential part of your game.
Jordan Renz: You want to trust your strength. That is why you work out in the off-season. If I can cut my swing down, that does not necessarily mean I am not going to hit for power. Even though I am going to take a shorter swing and be more patient with the pitches I still think I am going to be able to drive the ball but doing it the right way and not coming out of my shoes.
Out at Instructs you changed around your swing a little bit with the coaching staff. What were the changes from a mechanical standpoint?
Jordan Renz: Mechanically – my swing was all right but my mentality – I just tried to do too much. My numbers with nobody on base were bad, real bad. With runners in scoring position I was over .300. With nobody on I tried to do something more than I should. Mechanically, I want to stay where I am but mentally and my approach – I need to stay up the middle, look the other way, let the ball come to me instead of going out and getting everything. I think that is going to help more than anything, besides my mechanics.
You come out to a "hitters' league". Do you think about the fact that you can potentially do some damage here and it becomes a catch-22 where you get caught in that mentality again.
Jordan Renz: Right. That is one thing I tell myself over and over. I don't want to look at it as a "hitters' league" because guys think that a lot and come out and don't do nearly as good as they should have done. I want to drive the ball and, if it is a hitters' league, it will take care of itself. If I am driving the ball and it is going out then it is going out. I don't want to do too much. I have to trust my strength. I want to be a line drive hitter this year. Home runs are cool but I want my average there and that will help cut my strikeouts down and if they go, they go.
Talk about your defensive game and the challenges of playing out in right field.
Jordan Renz: I think I do well defensively. In the outfield the errors you don't want to make – dropping a ball, letting a ball go by you – I try to work hard on that. Errors in the outfield are most often going to be throwing and sometimes you can't help it. Sometimes it can be a good hop and bounces off. Basically, you just want to keep things in front and stop the runner. I think defensively will be pretty good this year. I am going to practice my defense hard this year.
What are your expectations this year?
Jordan Renz: I want to play the best I can every game. I have high expectations but right now I want to get these first games out of the way and go from there. I want to do well and want everyone on my team to do well.