Metcalf enjoying life in the Majors
Rookie third baseman is honored to wear Rangers uniform
Texas third baseman Travis Metcalf is proud to wear the Rangers uniform. The rookie infielder expressed what it's like to be called up to the Majors when he particpated in an online chat Friday afternoon and fielded questions from fans on a variety of topics before the Rangers-Astros game.
Travis Metcalf: Hey, everyone. Thank you for participating in the chat today. I will try to answer the questions as they come in. Once again, thank you.
presson4him: Do you think moving up directly from Double-A Frisco had anything to do with your quick adjustment into the big leagues?
Metcalf: Yes, getting experience in Double-A was very important in my learning process. Getting exposure to different pitches in different counts, as well as speeding up the game a little, always helps.
rkeany123: Has there been a confidence boost in the Rangers' locker room after wining three of four?
Metcalf: Absolutely, the mood around the clubhouse is picking up. With the injuries and amount of losses we had early in the season, guys are starting to fight back, as you can see with our eighth- and ninth-innings comebacks. We still have a lot of work to do, but anytime you can get a win, it is beneficial.
jjjdfj: Hey, bud, it's Schweitzer. I saw this little chat you were having and figured I would tell you to keep up the good work, my friend. Good luck the rest of the year and keep swinging it.
Metcalf: Thanks, buddy [old Kansas University team member]. I appreciate the support.
2blovee5: What's a normal game day like for you?
Metcalf: Usually I wake up around 10:30 a.m., shower and do the normal morning things before heading up to the field around 2 p.m. I stretch a little bit, hit early in the cages at about 3 p.m., then early work at 3:45. Team stretch at 4:30, batting practice is at 5:30 and get ready for the game at 7:30 (hopefully get a couple of hits). After the game, I try to go home and wind down, usually watch a movie and go to bed around 2 a.m.
trogdor79: Hey, Travis. Saw you play a handful of games at Frisco. Congratulations on making it to the bigs. When Hank Blalock returns from the disabled list, what do you think your role will be with the club? Can you be a utility infielder, or do you expect to get sent back down to the Minors?
Metcalf: I've never been asked to be a utility player. I have always been solid enough defensively to be a starter. I did play second base in college, but I don't know. When Hank returns, I would think that he will take third back, and news is that he is recovering well. My role now is day-to-day, to come to the field and be ready to give it my all. That's all my focus is for now. I am trying to earn a spot and stay up here as long as I can. What I have felt so far is that this is a place where I belong.
trogdor79: What's your take on Rudy Jaramillo's approach to hitting? Some say he advocates swinging for the fences too much.
Metcalf: If I had to describe Rudy in one word it would be "simplify." Rudy is awesome, he takes small parts of your swing and just tries to simplify the problems. If you are doing this and this and this -- I want to know what is causing those problems. Rudy is the best at finding those and helping you solve them.
trogdor79: Any prospect who especially impressed you while playing in the Minors, or whom you think will be an impact player for the Rangers?
Metcalf: I usually pay attention to other third basemen because that's my position. Chase Headley for the Padres was very impressive in Double-A San Antonio. He was solid defensively and a powerful switch-hitter. German Duran, the second baseman for Frisco, was very solid, as well. I enjoyed playing the infield with him.
Laura23: Hi, Travis. I'm Laura. I'm a huge Rangers fan. It is so awesome to get to talk to you.
Metcalf: Well, thank you, Laura. Keep cheering us on.
Cal_league: Hey, Travis. Number one, congratulations.
Metcalf: Thank you.
rkeany123: Travis, what do the players do while the other team is taking batting practice? Do the pitchers and coaches watch video of the other teams you play?
Metcalf: You bet, we have every game from all MLB teams that is played on video. We watch pitchers and the pitchers watch us. It is very important at this level to know who you are facing and what they bring to the table. During batting practice, usually cards are being played, people listen to their iPods and some just relax before the game.
Laura23: What was going through your mind when you hit your first Major League hit?
Metcalf: Nothing, I was completely blank. Then my first thought was, it's about time! Since it was the second time I got called up, it felt like two months since I had gotten a hit.
double_10: How do you feel about Sammy Sosa's 600th?
Metcalf: It was an absolutely special thing to be on the field when that happened and I will never forget it.
rkeany123: Is there a gaming system in the clubhouse that the team plays before the games? If so, do y'all play as the Rangers or do you play as a different team?
Metcalf: No, there isn't. Most guys have their own schedules so it may conflict. But at home on my PS2, I play as the Rangers all the time.
Cal_league: I just wanted to say that is a pleasure seeing someone I know succeed.
Metcalf: Thank you, again. I appreciate it.
2blovee5: What's it like playing with Sosa?
Metcalf: Sammy is big time, but I mean that in the nicest way. When we were in Pittsburgh, I had a pinch-hit at-bat and I didn't get a hit. I came back in the dugout and talked with Sammy for about two whole innings. It was a great experience. The guy has been through a ton, so he has plenty of good advice.
rhcc11: What sports did you play growing up? Was baseball always first on your list?
Metcalf: Yes, ever since I was around 5 years old, I told my parents I wanted to play baseball. They asked me, "What about a real job?" I responded, "Ok, I want to be a professional baseball player." I also played high school basketball.
double_10: When you where younger, who was your favorite team?
Metcalf: The Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox.
killah_b: Which MLB player, active or not, would you most like to catch a line drive for an out?
Metcalf: Cal Ripken Jr. I would love to play on the same field with him.
CoachD: Hi, Travis. Here in Wamego, Kan., we are sure proud of all your accomplishments. Did you ever think that you would make it big in the Majors?
Metcalf: Wamego! Thank you, all back home. It is a dream come true.
trogdor79: Thanks for taking my questions. How sweet was it to get your first hit (and homer) off Tom Gorzelanny? What did you do with the ball?
Metcalf: I felt privileged to get my first hit off of Tom. He was a college roommate of mine and has established himself in Pittsburgh as a very up-and-coming pitcher. Tom has great stuff and it was a great moment for me. I had the ball framed and gave it to my dad for Father's Day.
Prodrone: As a hitter, who has been the most difficult pitcher you have faced in the Majors or Minors?
Metcalf: I think Brad Lidge has a very good slider.
ROCKCHALK: Travis, congratulations on making the bigs. Wondering how playing with the (Kansas) Jayhawks, Coach Price (and setting a school record for home runs while here) and playing in the Minors have most contributed to your development to making it to the Majors?
Metcalf: I loved my time at KU. Coach Price was very similar to some coaches I've had in the Minor Leagues and I think that helped me out a lot. He put the game in the players' hands and it helped me succeed knowing that I had the pressure. He is doing a great job at KU. Go Hawks
Metcalf: I'm sorry, but I have 3:45 hitting and Rudy will kill me if I miss, so I only have time for a couple more questions.
scampe: What's the best thing about being a Ranger?
Metcalf: Being here! It is a dream of mine to play Major League Baseball, so it is an honor to wear the Rangers uniform.
Metcalf: Thanks Marcia. Keep up the good work.
Prodrone: In your experience, what aspect of pitching gives a hitter the most trouble? Deception of delivery? Movement? Velocity?
Metcalf: I would say all, based on what type of pitcher you have. Sometimes 93 mph looks easy out of the hand of one pitcher, but the same speed out of someone else's delivery looks like 98 mph.
scampe: Who do want hit homer off of?
Metcalf: Right now, I'll take a homer off anyone.
Metcalf: Everyone, I would like to thank you very much today. This was very fun for me, as well as these last three weeks. I am very excited about living my dream, and proud that I have some people backing me. Thank you, once again. I have to go to the cages now and try to stay up here in the bigs as long as I can. We have Houston tonight, so go Rangers!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.