CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso (@YonderAlonsoU) hit .273 with nine homers and 62 RBIs in his first full Major League season in 2012.
The 25-year-old did all this just months after a trade by the Cincinnati Reds sent he, then-rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal and right-hander Edinson Volquez to San Diego.
Alonso, who leaves for Peoria, Ariz. on Sunday for the start of Spring Training, took some time after Thursday night’s University of Miami preseason baseball banquet to speak with me.
CD: How was it for you going from one organization and having to start fresh?
YA: The staff does such a good job with us that it really simplifies a lot of thngs for me and makes it a lot easier. My surroundings with the staff and teammates makes it so much better to work with it. The [National League West] division was tougher in that sense since I didn’t know the division. I knew the division in Cincinnati when I came up. It wasn’t as hard, but obviously going to the west coast is tough.
CD: You’re usually a gap hitter, but the fences at Petco Park are moving up…
YA: I think it’s still going to be a reasonable park for pitches. It’s going to be fair. I think nowadays when you hit a ball in San Diego you’ll have a shot. That’s never been an excuse [for us]. I think our game is more getting on base and good pitching and good defense wins games. We’re just going to get our good at-bats and put the ball in play.
CD: Was there ever a time you saw a ball hit… I cover games at Marlins Park and that’s big…
YA: My game is all about gaps, RBIs and getting on base as much as possible. It doesn’t affect me one bit. I think if I went to another park I may hit more homers, but then again I wouldn’t hit as many doubles or opportunities to be on base. It doesn’t matter for me.
CD: What were your thoughts on your first full year?
YA: It was a grind. It was hard, it was long, but I learned a lot. I think it was one of those seasons when you learn so much. The first half is so important. And the second half is whatever you learned in the first half and carry over. I think this year is going to be a little different. I’m going to know the game, the teams.
CD: Was there anything that surprised you from the full-season grind?
YA: I learned a lot on how to minimize those slumps. Always be comfortable with yourself and know you can always get the job done. That’s one of the biggest things for me is to make my adjustments day in and day out and carry them over every single day.