Paul McAnulty, 28, as a low draft pick, had used his superior hitting ability to carry him to the major leagues, one of only five players out of the 50 drafted that made it to the big leagues that year. San Diego always respected what McAnulty could do at the plate, especially his control of the strike zone. What they had doubts about was his defensive ability and power potential, which made them reluctant to turn over left field to him on an everyday basis.
After being demoted from San Diego in mid-season, McAnulty had his best minor league season ever, hitting .343/.440/.646; with 50 RBIs in 53 games and a BB/K ratio of 35/38 in 183 at-bats. If anyplace is made for McAnulty to hit, a left-handed hitter whose power is in the gaps and can hit the opposite way, its Fenway Park.
It’s just a question if he will get the opportunity.
Paul McAnulty: I just thought it was a good fit, which is the main thing it came down to. There were some other teams, but I liked Boston.
When I’ve seen you play the biggest value that I’ve seen in your game is understated. You’re not someone that draws a lot of attention to yourself by hitting tape measure home runs, but you always seem to be able to hit and even when you don’t its usually an 0-for-2 day with a walk or a sacrifice fly. Do you think the Boston staff really saw more value in you than other teams?
Paul McAnulty: I hope so [laughs]. All of that stuff is interesting, but really the only thing that I can do is to go out and try my best. I really enjoyed my time in San Diego, but it just didn’t work out. Boston is another opportunity that I hope I will be able to make the best of.
When you look at your numbers that you put up when you started in left field, .268/.413/.454, with the exception of the power numbers; those are pretty good. Your numbers off the bench, granted in only 38 at-bats weren’t that great. How do you improve your numbers off of the bench?
Paul McAnulty: With San Diego, it really was a learning experience. The biggest thing I learned was how important it was to keep the same swing and the same approach every time, try to hit the ball hard. When I started to shorten up my swing or not drive the ball is when I got in trouble. Maybe if I had that approach the whole time I would still be in San Diego. [laughs]. It’s all a learning process when you are used to playing every day and you can get a little frustrated.
You put up some great numbers when you went back down to Portland mid-season and put up your best numbers of your career. What was the biggest thing that you learned from going back down?
Paul McAnulty: I think most of it was on the mental part of the game. It really humbled me. I thought either I can sulk or play as hard as I can and see what happens. I felt that I needed to prove what I could do because I knew that I could become a six-year free agent. I have been with this organization my whole career, so I just worked on going out and playing the game as hard as I could each day. I had a great time playing with guys like Will Venable and Matt Antonelli and really learned quite a bit too.
How has the off-season been going for you? In the past you have been coming off of shoulder and knee problems.
Paul McAnulty: I’m 100 percent healthy and feel great. I’m just getting ready to head out cross-country.
What is the best memory you are going to take out of being in the Padres organization?
Paul McAnulty: There are so many in seven years, but probably the biggest one is that they gave me a chance and for that I will always be grateful. They were always good to me, and even thought it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted, they were the ones who took the shot; although that walk-off home run in PETCO last year was pretty big too [laughs].
Eventually, everything that ended up with the Padres had to do with me finding the Lord. I gave my life to him in May 2008, which was the best thing that ever happened to me.
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