The Mets drafted Chris Fournier in the 16th round of the 2007 draft out of George Mason University. …
Fournier Making the Move
On a crowded roster last summer in Brooklyn, Chris Fournier struggled to find a rhythm as he hit just .224 with one home run and nine RBI before his season was cut short with a shoulder injury. The George Mason alumnus, who hit .369 in his final collegiate season, was not used to the pitfalls of a disappointing season but as he revved up for the upcoming year, he knows the position switch brings about fresh opportunity.
"Everything feels great with my shoulder after rehabbing for pretty much the entire off-season. I've got the strength in it, the flexibility and it's not a problem now," he said.
"My shoulder has stayed strong and even though I started a little bit slower at the beginning of the winter than I would have liked, I still got everything in that hoped to which got me to 100 percent ready to go for the spring."
That optimism was a strong first step as Fournier began the permanent move to the outfield. With good speed and a sharp eye for the ball, the transition has not proved as difficult as it could have, but it was a new experience that required lots of focused repetition.
"The outfield is a new position to me so the main focus this winter was really improving my defense and learning to play the position," said Fournier. "I'd go out there with the group and do a lot of work with [outfield and base running coach] Sonny Jackson and do a lot of repetition with the star drills to work on my angles and then drills that improve my ability to track the ball in the air and more."
Though he admits tracking the ball was not much of a challenge, reading and fielding ground balls is vastly different than from the infield so learning to play the ball on the run proved to be more testing.
"More of the work I did in camp was fielding balls on the run to throw players out. Coach Ryan Ellis did a lot of work with me on those fundamentals and I feel like I got a lot better with it with more and more repetition. All the drills have really showed me how to pace myself to the ball in the outfield which is an important element to defense," explained Fournier.
As for arm strength, which could have been issue considering the move from second base, Fournier insists it is not an issue. Blessed with arm strength more than suited for second base, he believes he possesses more than enough power to hold his own in the outfield.
"My arm strength was one thing I was never really worried about but coming from second base where I was just flipping the ball over, it was an adjustment, but an adjustment I felt real good about," said Fournier. "I've increased my shoulder strength after the injury and now I'm one-hopping the ball to the plate, hitting the cut-off man every time. I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it's gone.
Though the move still has its unknown elements in regards to how Fournier holds up to the outfield over the course of a full season, he is excited about its possibilities, and even more excited to display his skills after a truncated rookie season.
"I just know wherever I go to get an opportunity to play I'll play my hardest. Whenever I've been healthy in the past I've always had a productive season," said Fournier. "Last year I was disappointed because I was injured and I didn't to show the Mets what I'm really capable of doing. This year I'm healthy and ready to go so I feel like a big season is coming."
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