Warrior Clint Naylor adds strength to game

Clint Naylor

Peoria, AZ-- The brutal Arizona heat can play tricks with the mind. Put on a cage, a chest protector and shin guards and see how you manage. Clint Naylor did that in more.

On July 19, with two catchers already injured, Clint Naylor began the impossible and improbable, donning mask and gear on a grueling journey that saw him catch four straight games and in five of six days.

Not only did he have to sit behind the dish during the scorching heat of summer, but he also had to catch those side sessions during the day and time without his mitt and accessories was scarce.

Called a "warrior" by his teammates, Naylor had a solid learning year behind the plate and learned a lot from his first season in the states.

The one knock against him was his slender frame. While it took on the heat of Peoria, his work in the box left for a lot of room to improve, particularly in the strength department.

Naylor ended the year hitting .167 over 20 games with weak grounders his curtain call – when he wasn't drawing one of 23 walks.

A year older and a year stronger, Naylor is looking for more.

How has Carlos Hernandez been able to help you?

Clint Naylor: Oh, man, he's fantastic! As soon as I got here, my first year, I had a hard time focusing. And then Carlos the next year just changed so many things. He told me to do stuff his way and, my, it's unbelievable what he can do!

You threw out 28 percent last year – what do you need to improve upon to bring that number up?

Clint Naylor: I was working on a lot of stuff. No excuses or anything, but I definitely have to get my footwork down and just try to make an accurate throw. Last year I tried to be too quick and I threw too many balls away, so I'll definitely cut that down.

You showed great patience last year – with the increase in strength do you feel the need to be more aggressive?

Clint Naylor: It is true. It's very true. Last year I had good patience but I missed a lot of pitches also. So, this year with a little more size on and a little more strength (I can) just be more aggressive and go after it.

Is the added weight paying dividends so far and where have you seen the biggest improvements?

Clint Naylor: The biggest difference in probably in my throwing and also in my hitting. At the moment, it's all trying to put it all together. Hopefully once I put it all together, it'll pay off.

What have you seen from Andrew Gribbin and John Hussey?

Clint Naylor: I haven't seen too much of Gribbs because he's been injured. But he's got some good stuff. I remember him from back home, so he's got good stuff. And Hussey – first outing he struggled a little bit. He had a couple of days off. But today, he threw really well. He threw three innings I think, gave up two hits, and one run. So he'll be getting his stuff back in order.

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