Q&A with Brooklyn Manager Edgar Alfonzo

Alfonzo has Reese Havens back in the lineup

In the last Q&A session, Brooklyn pitching coach Hector Berrios broke down his staff. This time, Inside Pitch spoke with Brooklyn manager Edgar Alfonzo about many of the bats on his roster. What are his thoughts on Reese Havens? What will it take for Ike Davis to get going? What does he like about Zach Lutz? Find out the answers to those questions and more...

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Zach Lutz has performed very well this season though injuries have really put a damper on his ability to stay out on the field. What have been some of his biggest positives this year? What is his timeline to return?

Edgar Alfonzo: Well, last year he got hurt really early on and lost his opportunity in his first season, so a lot of what he does this year can be looked at like it's his rookie year. But, when he's been out there this year, he's been playing hurt. Right now, he's in still in St. Lucie rehabbing his quad muscle and his ankle injury. I've heard he's doing well but I don't know if he's going to be ready to play soon, but he's making progress.

He was a .300 hitter with three home runs and 12 RBI in about 20 games [24 games] so that was real bad for the team. Lutz can hit and he can play defense that's for certain. I'm not so sure about his big power, but he shows very good gap power and the ability to use the whole field. Defensively, he's not flashy but he makes all the plays and has a real good arm. The thing about his season is that he's been playing hurt so that led to some mistakes but as long as he stay healthy, we've got a real good player.

Inside Pitch: Eric Campbell has been one of your more consistent producers this season? What are some positives you see in his game?

Alfonzo: To me, he's a clutch hitter when we need a big hit. He makes good contact when needed to. Offensively, he's been very consistent all year especially with men on base. He's been the guy I want at the plate in those situations. Defensively, he's our third baseman but he's going to see some time in left field as well. He's been making some outstanding plays at third base and showing off a good arm. In left field, it's new for him, but he's making all the plays he needs to. He is a rookie but to me he looks like a veteran.

Inside Pitch: Ike Davis is not off to the start that even he would like, but what are you and the coaches working on with him to get going?

Alfonzo: We really just want to see him finish strong. It's been a rough start for him but it will be important for him to finish on a high note and go into the fall with some momentum. He is a kid who has the potential to do a lot of things even though he is hitting about [.230] right now. There are guys who will hit for that kind of average and really hit the ball weakly, but Davis is making solid contact but just hasn't put it together as we think he can yet. To me, I think he'll start finding the holes and get his average up before the year is over. It's tough for him to do so well in college and then come here and have some struggles, but that's why I try to talk to him and keep him mentally strong. The mental park of the game can get players down and we're working to avoid that. We still believe he will be a good hitter and a good player.

Inside Pitch: Sean Ratliff is looking to get going as well and had some better nights as of late. What will give him some momentum? Also, what do you think of his power potential?

Alfonzo: He's a kid with a lot of power. He hits the ball very hard in batting practice, hits monster home runs in [batting practice]. He's tough, he's competitive, he's a gamer, but sometimes players just need to figure it out and that's what he's going through right now. With a player like him right now, you don't want to try and to do too much to change because he's here because the scouts really see something in him. Later on, when I think he makes the adjustments and settles down at the plate, and tries not to swing too hard the home runs will come because you don't need swing hard to hit home runs. He's got a lot of natural power and we're waiting for that to come out. Defensively, he can run a little bit and has a very good, but he just needs to calm down a little bit out there.

Inside Pitch: Kirk Nieuwenhuis seems to coming on in recent games. He's a big outfielder who can move the ball around the field. What do you like about what he brings to the plate?

Alfonzo: He's very patient at the plate. He can take his walks, he can bunt, he can steal bases when he needs to. He does a lot of things out there. He's a quiet kid but he brings a terrific attitude to the field. We can move him around defensively in centerfield or right field. He's been out leadoff hitter for the last week and he has been doing well. He can move hitters over and do the important things to generate runs. He brings a lot to the table.

Inside Pitch: John Servidio is another one of your scrappers who can move around in the outfield and get the big hit when he needs to. What do you like about his game?

Alfonzo: He's a very consistent player and has been all year. We can play him in the corners in the outfield. He gets his RBIs and a lot of clutch hits too. Defensively, he's very good. He's not that fast out there, but he plays the ball well and has a good arm. On the bases, he's not the fastest, but he's smart out there. He's one of the guys who if you make a mistake to him, he can make you pay because he knows what he has to do when he's hitting. He can really hit the fastball, but he's improved hitting the breaking ball which has helped him hit more to the opposite field. He's a guy who brings energy to the team and that's important for us.

Inside Pitch: Jose Jimenez is a younger guy who showed good power in Savannah before coming back here where he continues to hit the ball hard and really jumps on fastballs. Is a middle of the order guy for you this year? Even though he's has been your designated hitter a lot this year, do you see him getting playing time on infield corners?

Alfonzo: He's capable of playing third base and first base. He was here for a little while last year during the playoffs, but didn't play much. It looks like he did pretty well in Savannah, but we think he can hit. He has 15 home runs combined between Savannah and here which is going to get attention. He's going to be hitting somewhere in the middle of the lineup when we need the right-handed bat behind Davis and before Ratliff.

Inside Pitch: Due to injury, you haven't had much time with Reese Havens this year, but in the time he's been here, what do you think of his play?

Alfonzo: Well Havens is definitely going to play shortstop for us; we signed him to play that position. It's too bad that he had the elbow injury and then he pulled his groin. His got a real good bat. He hits the ball really hard, can use the whole field so that was a big loss for us because he was really hot earlier when he was strictly the DH for us. He's one tough kid who can really do a lot with the bat. He hit a few home runs early on and now that he's healthy, I think we'll see more of that and I think he'll finish with a good average too. Defensively, there is still work to do because he's only played DH at the beginning but the scouts say he can play shortstop so I hope he's ready to go and get after it out there.

Inside Pitch: Jordan Abruzzo is another guy who has moved around a lot this year, hit the ball well in St. Lucie and Savannah before coming back here so what is the focus with him right now?

Alfonzo: Jordan played for me last year but only played four games before losing the season with an injury. He looks like an older player, and is older than a lot of guys here, but he is still like a rookie because he missed so many games last year. He was mostly a DH in Savannah and was only catching a couple times a week and did the same in St. Lucie. Here he's catching a lot more. He's quick behind the plate, he's got a good arm, he calls a good game, he's a good receiver and he's a strong kid. At the plate, he hits the ball hard and knows what he's doing up there. As a switch-hitter, he helps our lineup and can hit the ball hard on both sides of the plate. With him, he just needs to get used to catching a lot because he was DH'ing too much this year.

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