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April 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Q&A with Tim Federowicz

The Red Sox drafted Tim Federowicz out of the University of North Carolina in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. He quickly established himself as an excellent defensive catcher with the Lowell Spinners that summer, showing off his strong, accurate throwing arm on a regular basis. Federowicz showed off his offensive game in 2009, hitting a combined .305 with 14 home runs and 58 runs batted in between the Greenville Drive and Salem Red Sox. He returns to Salem in 2010 to continue his work honing his overall game and pushing towards the upper levels of the Red Sox organization. I had a chance to sit down with Federowicz in Fort Myers after one of his spring training games to check in on what he has been working on, and get his thoughts on how things have been going. Thanks to Tim for taking the time after catching in the Florida heat to answer some questions and chat about baseball.

Chris Mellen: After spending the summer of 2008 with Lowell and feeling things out with professional pitching, what type of adjustments did you make in the 2009 season heading into your first season in full-season baseball?
Tim Federowicz:
I straightened my stance up a little bit to stand up tall and concentrated on staying above the baseball. I wanted to keep myself from dropping my back shoulder and getting out of whack there as well. A lot of it came from being tight with my approach to look for that one pitch in every at-bat that I can drive, and it worked out well for me to have some good success on the season.

CM: How do you go about building relationships with the pitchers that you work with? What do you do to improve upon these relationships?
TF: I have to try to get into their head to find out what kind of pitcher they are and what they want to accomplish in each outing. Most of the time they tell me they want to go out there and get a quick three outs. So, we’ve got to out there and throw a lot of fastballs to get that done. I have to make sure that before we go out there we’re both on the same page as to what the plan is. If I see that we aren’t on the same page at some point, then we’ll talk things over before a game, between innings, or whatever to figure out what we need to try to do.

CM: How long does getting comfortable usually take?
The first couple of outings are more of a feel thing to try and figure out what they like to do, and what they like to throw. Once you’ve gotten that down then the biggest thing is establishing what they want to get out of their outings and what I’d like to get out of their outings. Building the relationship is pretty much the most important thing, and then everything goes from there.

CM: Where would you like to see yourself as a baseball player by the end of 2010? Are there one or two aspects of improvement that jump out at you?
I’d like to obviously develop more as an overall player, but I’d like to be able to last for a full season of games without wearing down too much. I need to be able to be that guy that the organization can rely on every day, and not get beat up too much by the grind of the season. Catching-wise I need to make sure that I work on my leadership more and try to really round that out as one of my strengths.

CM: So, you mention leadership being one of your strengths. Can you give us a quick scouting report on your strengths and weaknesses as a catcher?
Yeah, as a catcher I feel that I have pretty good leadership abilities. Guys tend to look up to me out on the field. As a catcher, I need to be the captain on the field, so one of the things I really want to work on -- and it actually may be one of my weaknesses -- is being more vocal out throughout the games. I have to make sure guys are staying in the games and have to let the guys know where they have to go in certain situations. That’s been something that I have been working on a lot this spring and something that I feel is going to take my game to the next level.

CM: Take us through your gameday routine and how you prepare with the pitchers leading up to the first pitch of an outing.
I usually get to the field about a good two hours before we take BP. I’ll hang out a bit and make sure I’m following my same eating patterns to keep my energy up. After getting my swings in during BP, we may go down and do some catching drills to get things going there. Pitchers tend to keep to themselves and that’s fine. The time that I’ll go out and start talking to them is when they are stretching. I’ll show them the opposing lineup to go through who is going to pull the ball, who likes to go to the opposite field, who is going to swing first pitch, etc. As we talked about before, it’s about getting on the same page, as you don’t want to go out there calling a game and have the pitcher shaking you off every pitch. I like to take the time before we start throwing to go through this and establish what we are going to accomplish.

CM: Has there been a player that you have tried to model your game after or looked up to growing up?
I always liked the way Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez) played. I always followed him and he was my favorite catcher. He was a smaller guy like me and always went about his business in a manner I liked. He was a great catch-and-throw guy, and I’ve tried to model my game after his.

CM: Ok, so we talked a lot about baseball and know a lot about you as a baseball player. What does Tim Federowicz like to do when he isn’t playing baseball?
I’m a pretty laid-back guy. I really like to relax and not do much when I’m not at the field during the grind of the season. Sometimes, when I’ve got some free time in the off-season, that is when you want to go out and really do something. I’ll go fishing or hunting. I got to do some hunting this past off-season; that was pretty fun. I’m actually trying to find a few hobbies to keep me busy in the off-season.

CM: We like to ask this one a lot in our interviews so let’s get to it. Which teammate has impressed you the most thus far in your time in the organization?
TF: Anthony Rizzo. We’ve been playing together the last two years and he has been one of the most impressive guys that I have played with. Rizzo and I work really well together during our at-bats. We’ve both been hitting right around each other in the lineup so we’ll talk about pitchers and how they have been attacking us. We also live together off the field so we’ve developed a close relationship. He’s got a lot of potential as a player and has become a close friend.