Thursday, August 16, 2007
This afternoon, I called up Twins first baseman Garrett Jones and he told me that he had to run out because he just got the call back up to the Twins. But he was nice enough to hold off ten minutes and answer some questions of mine for MLB Rumors. Garrett was doing well in Triple-A batting .280 with 13 HR and 70 RBI and will look to continue his hot streak with the Twins for his third stint with the Twins his rookie season. I want to thank Keith Krieter at Edge Sports International for setting up this interview for me, I really appreciate it.
ELI: Growing up in Illinois, were you a Cubs or Sox fan?
GARRETT: I was a Sox fan. Yeah, I grew up on the south side and was able to watch them growing up.
ELI: Did you have a favorite player?
GARRETT: I like Robin Ventura and Frank Thomas a lot, but I really like Ken Griffey Jr. when he was on the Mariners. I just tried to copy his swing growing up. He was probably my favorite player.
ELI: What was the draft experience like for you? Did you expect the Braves to take you?
GARRETT: The whole experience went by really quick for me. I had committed to Purdue before my senior year and I wasn't expected to go pro out of high school. But I was hitting well my senior year and I was told I could go in a decent round. One of my practices senior year the scout who told me this came up and told me I was taken in the 14th round. I was excited and wanted to sign because I thought I went at a pretty good round and had a good chance of making it.
ELI: Were you eager to sign?
GARRETT: Oh yeah, I wanted to sign. I was taken early enough where I thought I had a good chance to be successful and I thought it would be better then going to college. But if I was taken higher like in the 20s I probably would have thought I was better off at Purdue.
ELI: You spent some time in the Twins system before getting your call up this season, were you ever discouraged?
GARRETT: No, the Twins gave me a fair chance. Once I made it to Double-A I started hitting my stride, my power was good, and they told me what to do and I started doing it. They gave me a fair shot from there, especially with Morneau in front of me. I was just happy with the opportunities that were given to me.
ELI: Do you remember your first at-bats? Can you take me through them?
GARRETT: Yeah, my first at bat I came up and was nervous. I was just trying to focus and make good contact. My second at bat I came up and caught a change up down and away and drove it through the three hole for a single. I was excited because [Paul] Byrd is a veteran he was moving the ball pretty well across the plate.
ELI: Did you get the ball back?
GARRETT: Yeah, they gave me the ball back I got it authenticated and then I gave it to my dad after the game and now it is in my house.
ELI: At home, you hit a big triple off Jered Weaver, what were you thinking off the bat?
GARRETT: I saw right away off the bat, I sort of inside outed it. I was hoping it would get away from Gary Matthews and when it did I knew I had a double easily and I pushed it for three and made it easily.
ELI: What have the Twins been like in your stints with the team?
GARRETT: The Twins fans have been good, doing a lot of cheering. I came up for my first at-bats at home and they gave me a pretty good ovation despite being new. It was nice, the fans were always there and consistently cheering.
ELI: What time do you usually arrive at the stadium for a one o'clock game?
GARRETT: I'll arrive around nine o'clock. They like us to take BP before the game so I'll get there and eat some breakfast and then hit the cages before the game.
ELI: Do you have any pre-game routine you do on your own?
GARRETT: I like to hit off the tee, work on my swing a little bit. But besides that, I just like to relax and prepare mentally for the game. Yeah, nothing superstitious though.
ELI: What is your most cherished piece of sports memorabilia?
GARRETT: I had a four homer game in A-ball once and I kept the bat. It was exciting probably my best game down there so I kept the bat.
ELI: What would you rather see, a walk off homerun to win the World Series, or a no-hitter to win the World Series?
GARRETT: I think the homerun would be more exciting at the time, but a no-hitter would be awesome to see. At the moment, the homerun would be amazing and exciting, but I pitching a no-hitter especially in the World Series is impressive and I would to be a part of something like that.
ELI: If you could bat against any pitcher, past or present, who would it be?
GARRETT: It would have to be Nolan Ryan. The he threw the ball and how hard he threw, I think it would be cool to hit off him. He had such nasty stuff, I think I would choose him.
ELI: Who told you you were getting the call back up?
GARRETT: My [Triple-A] manager called me up, and it is funny because I haven't played great lately. Today, I had the hat trick, struck out three times and the day before that I didn't have a hit. So to get the call up now, it was nice. He just said 'the big club want you up there. They got some guys that are bang up...'
ELI: So when are you leaving?
GARRETT: I'm flying back tomorrow morning.
ELI: Alright, congratulations again.
GARRETT: Thanks a lot, talk to you.