Monday, August 17, 2015

Fightins Quotables: Knapp and Martin speak on recent success

Knapp 1
Andrew Knapp, image- Jay Floyd
A key contributor for the Double-A Reading Fightins' lineup in recent weeks has been catcher Andrew Knapp. The 23-year-old is riding a 14-game hitting streak and sports a .401/.450/.678 slash line since his promotion from Clearwater, after he was a mid-season All-Star there. Knapp, who was the Phillies' 2nd round draft choice out of Cal in 2013, will be the focus of an upcoming segment on Phillies Nation's weekly TV program, but in the meantime, he offered some thoughts on his recent offensive output and more.

-He spoke about his nickname, "The California Kid"...

I kind of like it. I like my California roots, but I think someone up in the front office started it and it kept rolling. I think people like it. I think it's cool to represent and entire state, but I wouldn't necessarily call myself "The California Kid".

-Comments on his current hitting streak...

I don't really try to think about it too much. It's nice to go out and get a hit every night, but I'm just trying to keep doing what I'm doing. You know, one day if I hit four balls hard and I don't get a hit, it's not really a big deal. All I'm worried about it getting a good pitch to hit and hitting balls hard. I kind of, last couple days I haven't been producing the way I want to with runners in scoring position as much. I'd like to hit better situationally. That comes and goes. That's the way baseball is. I'm just trying to keep doing what I'm doing.

-Talked about working with roving catching instructor Ernie Whitt to help him throw out four potential base stealers in the past two games...

Ernie came this past week and we worked pre-game on some stuff- transfer and footwork and it's just stuff that we've been working on all year. It's just nice to get him in town to kind of redefine some stuff or fine tune some things here and there. I think it's getting there. It's getting better every day and getting where I like it, throwing wise, I think, trusting the arm a little more every day. I'm almost two years out now (from Tommy John surgery) so, you'd think the trust would be there, but it still kind of lingers a little bit. I mean, everything feels great and it's nice to get Ernie out here and work on some stuff.

Ethan M.
Ethan Martin, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Ethan Martin had his best outing of the year on Sunday, notching a win with five scoreless innings in a spot start in place of the injured Ben Lively. Overall, the 26-year-old, who pitched with the Phillies in each of the past two seasons, has a 2-0 record with a 4.33 ERA in 16 games (three starts). Martin talked about his win against Trenton and more.

-Speaking about his solid outing...

It's just one of those things. Whatever they need me to do this year. I hit the zone early, got ahead of hitters. Had a couple hitters I couldn't get out, got the pitch count a little bit up and couldn't finish them, but I went five innings. Felt good. Kept the ball down low in the zone except until the last inning, I got a lot of ground balls.

-Addressing the excitement level with the Reading team as they push toward a playoff berth...

It's a great atmosphere in there. Basically, it brings it back to when I got traded over here in 2012. You know, I think everybody's excited and we all want to do well. If it happens, it happens, but we've just got to play our game. Right now, we're playing really well.

-Sharing thoughts about how this year's Reading team compares to the 2012 that fell short in the post-season...

We got good pitching, we've really got one of the best clubs I've ever been on in the minor leagues. You got the hitting, got the pitching, you got the back end of the bullpen. You know, the other thing is how much we gel as a team. That's one thing you don't find much in minor league baseball, realistically, you're trying to beat out the guy next to you because they're competing for the same job as you are at the higher level. But, you know, you take this time and while we're all playing for ourselves, we're all playing for each other too. You don't that too much in the minor leagues. It's a fun way to play baseball. That's for sure.
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