In January, Allard Baird and a small delegation of Royals officials traveled to Australia to watch…
RC interview with Chris McConnell
Chris McConnell: It's definitely been a rough year, but I think I'm learning from it, like it will all come out in the wash. The Royals have told me that they're actually happy that I'm going through a rough time. They said that I'll learn from this, and that the faster I get it over with, the better it will be. You know, they don't want me doing that at Double-A or the big leagues – better to get it out of the way here. I'm definitely learning from it, and my attitude's changing – I don't get as mad if I get out, and I've kind of learned to roll with the punches.
RC: How did you react to the news that you were being sent back down to Idaho Falls?
CM: I was disappointed, but I understood it. I understood why they did it. They said it's possible I could come back up, but I don't think that's the case now – I think it will play out here, and then I'll go to instructs. They said it's not a setback, and I'll probably start in High-A next year. I'm just trying to get comfortable again.
RC: How's your offense progressing?
CM: It's been getting better. There was a big thing with my stance, and it got changed, and then they let me go back, so it's kind of getting back to what I did last year.
McConnell is back to his crouched stance
RC: Could you tell us a little more about that? Are you referring to your switch back and forth between a crouched stance and an upright stance? What was the progression of that?
CM: In instructional league, they wanted me to change it, so I could hit the outside pitch better. I changed, and I never felt real comfortable with it, but I was hitting with it for awhile. In spring training, I was hitting really well, but then by the end of spring training, it started falling apart. Burlington was the same thing, and then they told me that I could go back to my way, so I did. I was having a little bit of success, going up and down, and then I came [to Idaho Falls] and I'm just working on it. It's starting to come back.
RC: What's the biggest thing you're working on now offensively? What needs the most work?
CM: I think I'm hitting to all fields pretty well. Right now, they're talking about my front shoulder. As I'm extended, I'll move my front shoulder in, and a lot of times I'll jam myself. So we're just working on keeping my front shoulder straight, which is easy to do during BP, but I just have to work on it during the games. That's really it, but it's an easy thing to fix.
RC: How about your defense? How's that coming along, and are you feeling pretty comfortable out there at short?
CM: Yeah, I'm feeling comfortable. If I ever got streaky on my defense, it was just because the offense was struggling, and I was just feeling down of myself. But besides that, my defense will always be there, and I'm not worried about it.
McConnell's got a strong arm and good range at short
RC: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
CM: Keep hitting, hitting the ball hard, and go to instructs and do everything well. I'd like to finish strong and start off next year well, and go to High-A.
RC: You're originally from Jersey. What team did you grow up rooting for, and are there any players you particularly admired.
CM: I was always a Philadelphia fan, because I'm close to Philly – I'm not from north Jersey or New York. But I watched the Mets a lot, which is kind of a Phillies' rival. I liked Rey Ordonez. He doesn't play anymore, but he was my man. He was a defensive guy, and that's who I always watched and wanted to be like.
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