BROOKLYN, NY - By all accounts, Eudy Pina was having a stellar season for the Brooklyn Cyclones. The…
Pina Getting After It
Currently, he has a batting average of .264 and starts in right field for the Brooklyn Cyclones. In the 2010 season with the DSL Mets, Pina received the Mets Sterling Award—other 2010 recipients, who are now Mets players and notable Brooklyn Cyclones alumni, were Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Dillon Gee, and Lucas Duda.
"Getting the Sterling Award was definitely a confidence booster," Pina said. "That's what I work for, to get accomplishments like that. It felt really good to be acknowledged for my hard work."
During the offseason, Pina injured his hand and couldn't participate in Spring Training for a month's time. This setback only made him work harder. After having lost a large amount of time not being able to practicing with his fellow teammates, he returned determined to improve and succeed.
"I was working really hard in the offseason once I came back," Pina said. "I did anything and everything to get ready for this season."
Upon his return to Spring and Extended Spring Training, Pina worked on both his game on the field, as well as his physique. Bobby Malek and Rich Donnelly also saw, despite his injury setting him back, that he returned fully ready and capable to play a good game.
"Spring Training and Extended went well after I got better — there were a lot of people I learned from; I took advantage of that," Pina said. "I also put on some weight and got a lot stronger. I was working hard on my swing and making sure I could really hit the ball well."
"Eudy was hurt for a lot of Spring Training, so he really missed out on a lot of games and practices," Malek said. "But, he put a display on in the last two weeks, so he became comfortable."
"When he came to Spring Training, he was hurt—he hurt his hand, so he was about a month behind," Donnelly said. "We tried to fast forward and get him playing a lot and he's caught up now - he's fine."
As for his start this season, he has shown immense power behind his swing and his arm. He has had some remarkable moments in his minor league appearances. Bobby Malek acknowledges Pina's strength overall.
"[In] my first year I hit six [homeruns]," Pina said. "I struggled a little during my second year with the power — I only got two. But I've been working hard on my power and I think I got a lot better."
"He has tremendous power and he has a nice swing," Malek said. "He has a very exceptional arm from the outfield. He just has to improve on his ground balls defensively, but he's been working on that."
Rich Donnelly also notices that Pina remains a force to be reckoned with, both at bat and in the field.
"He's got the best arm in the Mets organization—from Citi Field, all the way down to here," Donnelly said. "Nobody can throw like him, and that's from our scouts. He can throw better than anybody on the Mets.
"He's got power and he can run fast. He sometimes has bad approaches when at-bat. He just knows -- run, throw, hit, -- he is starting to learn the game of baseball. The power, though, behind his swing is very strong. He always works hard. The way Eudy approaches his job is the way every player should."
There's no surprise that Pina's auspicious presence on the field makes him a prospect for a Major League career with his consistent improvement, but he also seeks improvement off the field.
Speaking almost no English, Pina finds adjusting to a different country difficult, yet he is optimistic. His coaches, too, see only positive outcomes with the way Pina continues to progress.
"It's been hard adjusting to the food and talking to everyone. I can't communicate too well. But, I work hard both on and off the field, so I'm getting better," Pina said.
"The language barrier has been a challenge," Malek said, "but we use a translator to get across what we expect from him and that gets him to talk, but he is adjusting well."
"Some kids are just good kids —- he's a good kid," Donnelly said. "If you tell him to work hard, he'll take a thousand ground balls -- he'll do anything you want just to improve. He wants to be good. He's a tough competitor. He has great physical ability; he just has things he needs to work on.
"He just needs to learn how to play the game. How to catch ground balls, how to go back on the ball—things like that. He works his butt off. Every day we throw stuff at him but he works his butt off. One day he'll grow into that body of his and he's going to be something."
Pina feels that his progress remains out of his hands, but he continues to work hard and is optimistic, all in the hopes of becoming a Major League player someday and the best player he can be. He and his coaches see nothing but more improvement and a lot of potential for the rest of his career.
"I think he's a good baseball player," Malek said, "so my hope for him is to just keep improving."
"He has big league tools. When you see him hit, you say ‘Wow! No one hits a ball there' and when you see him throw, you have the same reaction—he threw an out from twenty feet. He's got a lot of potential," Donnelly said. "If you say ‘wow' about a player once in a while, that means he has a chance—I say ‘wow' about him a lot."
"I want to keep improving on my swing and my defense, but God takes control of what my year will look like, I have no control over that," Pina said. "I just want to do everything I can and work hard to benefit the team."
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