Fournier Ready for Challenge

Fournier Ready for Challenge

Drafted in the 16th round of the 2007 MLB Draft, the outfielder/designated hitter played through a college career marked by injuries. Now in Brooklyn, with regained strength, he hopes to show his coaches and the fans how his play can boost an already successful team.

One look at Cyclones designated hitter Chris Fournier and you know he means business. One look at Fournier in the batters box and it is painfully obvious that his business is getting under the skin of opposing pitchers.

After breaking a 0-for-9 mini-slump, Fournier is still hitting .268 with five RBI and three steals in only eleven games this season for a Brooklyn team looking to solidify its lineup before the All-Star break. Drawing five walks in only 41 at-bats, Fournier looks extremely comfortable at the plate with a unique batting stance that is a splice between Andruw Jones and Rickey Henderson. Fournier aims to be the front-runner for the Cyclones DH spot currently shared by him, Jeff Tatford, Lucas Duda and Micah Schilling.

"I've had a few different stances during my career, but this one just stuck in college," said Fournier, who has gotten on base in ten of the 11 games he has played in Brooklyn so far this season. "It's more consistent and it lets me use my legs, so I can generate more power. Since I'm a little bit lower to the ground, it just works for me and I'm comfortable with it."

Feeling he will be even more devastating at the plate once he gets more at bats, the George Mason University graduate (who hit .369 with 14 homers his last season in school) understands that he is going to have to work extremely hard to crack a lineup filled with skilled outfielders like Will Vogl, Brandon Kawal and Lucas Duda.

"I just try and hit the ball up the middle and go the other way," said Fournier, who had Tommy John surgery in 2006 and managed to come back in 2007 while not missing one game at GMU. "I've been working really hard with our coach Guadalupe Jabalera and Fonzie [Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo] on swinging down more into the ball. The more AB's I get, the more productive I'm going to be."

Getting more of an opportunity now that he is on the way to becoming completely healthy, Fournier has spent a lot of time watching NY-Penn League pitching and feels that he is a smart hitter when inserted into the lineup. Fournier has always spent time scouting the opposition and thinks it has been one of the keys to his success as he readies to prove himself at the plate.

"I had a little bit of a shoulder issue that kept me out of action in college for a little while," said Fournier. "Now that I'm healthier, they've been giving me more playing time and before that, I was watching the other hitters and talking to them to see how they approach the game and to get an idea what the pitchers were like here."

"It's something I did in college too when I was on the shelf and I think it's made me a better hitter. It's a learning experience out there. In a week or two I should be getting some playing time in the outfield as well, so I'm looking forward to that too."

By talking to his teammates, and working with his coaches in order to become a better player, Fournier knows that the mental aspect of the game is just as important as producing on the field.

"I think the biggest thing is just being mentally prepared for every single game. In college, you'd have a few days off before every game," said Fournier. "So being ready to play everyday is definitely different. You really have to learn to make the most out of every opportunity you get out there."

However, now that he is getting ready to be fully unleashed on NY-Penn league pitching, Fournier knows that his playing time depends on how well he plays on the field and not how hard he works scouting the opposition. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old has set some pretty lofty goals for himself.

"I hope I'm in the middle of the lineup and playing in one of the corner outfield spots," said Fournier. "But that all depends on how productive I am. I hope I keep doing my thing and driving in runs."

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