If you haven’t seen it yet, Hal Mccoy of the Dayton Daily News has a really good read on Jay Bruce and his burning desire to be better in this 2010 season.
Bruce has reported to Spring Training early, and you have to like what we’re hearing about the make-up of this kid:
It was 7:45 on a dreary Arizona morning, the sun shielded by a cloud cover that kept the temperature below 60.
Inside a large roofed building illuminated by florescent lights, in one of six indoor batting cages, Jay Bruce was pounding baseballs delivered underhanded by batting instructor Brook Jacoby.
The coffee in the media work room was still brewing, but Bruce already had worked up a sweat in his quest to elevate his game to his personal satisfaction.
Other then the fact that Brook Jacoby was his hitting instructor, what isn’t there to like about those paragraphs?
And there’s more.
“Age is relative, relative to what you’ve been through,” said Bruce. “I’m in the major leagues and it doesn’t matter if I’m 22, 32 or 42. I expect a lot out of myself and so do they. If they didn’t think I could do the job I wouldn’t be here, no matter how young I am. My job is to help the team win and I didn’t do it as well as I wanted last year.”
“I finally had to deal with some adversity and adversity is good for everyone,” said Bruce. “People deal with it in different ways at different times. I just decided to move forward and take it as a positive and let it be something I learn from.”
“I just want to be as productive as I can, all around,” he said. “Score as many runs as I can, drive in as many as I can and prevent as many as I can. Defense is a big deal and I take a lot of pride in it. Being an all-around baseball player is the way it should be. I want to be that and I have a long way to go, but I’m trying to make it happen.”
The kid is a winner, all-around. There is something to be said about a kid that faces a lot of adversity early on; especially in baseball. Baseball is a highly mental entailed sport. Once you’ve been through a few slumps you are accustomed to how to go back to the basics and start hitting again. It’s as much of a mental grind as it is anything physical. Bruce is saying all the right things, and by showing up to camp early and getting extra work in; he’s taking the right measures.
It’s very important that he have a productive season. Are we ready to say that he’s going to hit .300 and 30 home runs, solving the riddles he faced against left-handed pitching all year last season? Not within the posts of this blog we aren’t. But we feel like Jay Bruce is going to be just fine. Remember, not too many guys have 43 big league bombs to their name at the age of 22.