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June 15, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Ryan Dent Q&A

A 19-year-old native of Long Beach, California, Ryan Dent was taken by the Red Sox as a supplemental pick after the first round of the 2007 draft. A right-handed-hitting infielder, Dent split his first professional season between the Gulf Coast League and short-season Lowell, appearing in 21 games. Rated by Baseball America as the 46th best prospect going into last year's draft, Dent is back with the Spinners after beginning the 2008 season in extended spring training.

David Laurila: You were drafted one year ago this month. What have you learned since that time?
Ryan Dent: Pretty much that it takes time to develop out of high school. Comparatively, minor league baseball is a lot different; it's a lot faster and the pitching is definitely a little tougher. So I'd say it's just the adjustment of the game-speed and learning to develop at your own pace. And I'm realizing that I'm not going to be in the big leagues tomorrow; it's going to take time. I just have to work hard, and hopefully good things come from it.

DL: Developmentally, what are the biggest strides you've made since signing?
RD: I'd probably say it's the mental side of the game, just being prepared to play every day and keeping my head in the game at all times. The game is a lot faster, so mentally you really have to stay in the game or else you'll get left behind; you're going to make mental mistakes. So I think the most important thing is just staying in the game mentally.

DL: Has Bob Tewksbury played a role in that mental development?
RD: Yeah, he helps a lot with your struggles and how to deal with failure. You're going to go through slumps, so how do you get out of them in a long season? I'm here in Lowell, so the season isn't as long as it would be, but the preparing is still a lot different from a high school year. Tewksbury really helps you with that.

DL: What were your expectations for the season coming into spring training?
RD: I was just hoping to have a good spring, and I wasn't sure where I was going to end up. Unfortunately, I struggled a little bit in spring training, but I picked it up in extended and ended up here in Lowell. I just hope that I can contribute, have a good season, and we make the playoffs this year.

DL: Is there a specific reason you can point to for your struggles in spring training?
RD: It was a little mechanical; I struggled at the plate a little bit. And I wasn't where I needed to be mentally, so I didn't deal with those struggles like I should have. But extended spring training really helped; you have the privilege of repetition and taking batting practice every day, along with working with the roving instructors. I think extended helped me a lot and it prepared me for Lowell.

DL: What was the mechanical issue that led to your struggles at the plate?
RD: I think just being on time with my stride and being prepared to hit. It was mechanical and mental. Mentally it was having a plan when you come up to the plate and sticking with that plan. That was the main thing I needed to work on, and I think I did that well in extended. Mechanically, it was just being on time with my foot and my stride, and being able to see the ball better.

DL: Most of the people reading this have seen your scouting reports, but how would you describe your game?
RD: I'd say that I try to use all of the field; I'm not a big power guy. I like to use my speed and put the ball in play as much as possible. I'd say that's pretty much the strength of my game, making sure I put the ball in play and use my speed to force the defense to make plays. I try to hit the gaps and make singles into doubles and doubles into triples. That's pretty much how I'd describe myself.

DL: How about defensively?
RD: Defensively, I've worked a lot at second base. I don't have one of the strongest arms, therefore I need to be a lot quicker, both getting the ball to first base and being quicker with my hands. I'm sure I'll play second and short this year, so I need to be prepared to make the long throws from short and the throws from second.

DL: When you're working with Bruce Crabbe, is there one thing he's been stressing more than anything else?
RD: Being fluid and less is more. Less movement is a key in the infield; you don't need all this glove-flipping and such forth. Be simple with your hands and stay low through the ball. At times I might have a tendency to come up when I throw, which may cause throwing errors. So he really stresses being fluid and staying down, and therefore your throws will be crisper.

DL: What kind of guy is Ryan Dent off the field?
RD: I'm the kind of guy who pretty much likes to lay low. I'll go out occasionally, but I really enjoy a good movie at night or hanging with the guys to play cards or games, or listening to music. I think of myself as a mellow guy who just hangs loose and chills with the fellows, having a good time.

DL: How about your demeanor on the field; are you quieter or more rah-rah?
RD: I'd say that I try to be rah-rah to get the team going. But the main thing is having the privilege to play baseball as your job, every day. I think you really have to stress having fun, because if you think of it as a job you're not going to have fun. This is one of the greatest jobs in the world - getting to play a sport like baseball - so I try to have fun and get the team going; I try to be a team player and a leader.