Michael Johnson & Daryl Jones talk swings

Michael Johnson

Peoria, AZ-- Michael Johnson and Daryl Jones are a lot alike. They both have a ton of talent and unbelievable power. Invited to the early hitter's camp, both are working on refining their swing and finding consistency.

Michael Johnson hasn't seen a healthy year since joining the San Diego Padres' system. Over the last two seasons he has played in 134 games, making it difficult for him to find his timing and rhythm. A .269 career minor league hitter, Johnson has tremendous power, clubbing 73 doubles and 51 homers – 48.7 percent of his hits going for extra bases. Now, he is looking to put everything together over a full season.

Is this early hitting camp a time to get the timing down on your swing and how do you make sure you don't peak too early?

Michael Johnson: Well, I think this hitting camp's great. We're getting a lot of quality swings. We've got some great instructors helping us out and watching over every swing we take and making sure we're maximizing this week and getting the most out of our time and our work. As far as peaking too early, that's not really a concern. We're just out here trying to get as many quality swings as we can and, like you said, get that timing going and just keeping it simple right now to start with.

What is the goal for you heading into this season?

Michael Johnson: I want to leave out of here and go into the season healthy, feeling strong, feeling in shape. Just be ready to go and ready to get after it as soon as we start the season.

You have lost some time to injuries – do you feel that the clock is starting to tick against you and how do you ignore that and just play your game?

Michael Johnson: This is my 5th season now and I'm 26. The clock is starting to tick, that's inevitable. It comes for everybody. But like you said I've got to ignore that. I prepared this off-season probably as hard or harder as any off-season before just because it's time to really show what I can do.

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Daryl Jones

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Daryl Jones had a great rookie campaign in the Arizona Rookie League, struggled tremendously in Eugene, and bounced back to middle ground last year. At 20-years old, Jones is still developing his game and it begins with patience – hoping to improve upon a .235 career minor league average and the 12 homers he hammered last season.

What are you working on specifically in this early hitter's camp?

Daryl Jones: Pretty much I'm just working on my swing and just making good contact. Trying to stay through the ball and trying to keep my shoulder closed. Pretty much just work the middle and the right side of the field.

You have always had power to all fields but have the Padres tried to get you pulling the ball more to take advantage of the power?

Daryl Jones: Not really. After rookie ball they tried too, but after that they've pretty much been trying to work on me to cut down on my strikeouts. I've been striking out a lot. (I'd like to) cut that down this year.

Do you feel you need to see more pitches in the coming year to build upon the successes you have had?

Daryl Jones: Oh, yeah. That's something I'm working on. Just trying to go deeper in the counts, taking pitches. That's one of the things I've been working on.

Last year you split time between first and DH – does that affect your game and how do handle sitting on the bench with the only responsibility is hitting once an hour?

Daryl Jones: It's not bad. It gives my legs a break every other day. I like to play first. But if that's what they want me to do, that's what I've got to do. I'm on the field.

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