Harrisburg Senators’ second baseman Steve Lombardozzi is enjoying his first week in the Arizona Fall league after fine tuning his game at instructs early in the month. Lombardozzi is batting .238 with four doubles and an RBI in five games, a .429 SLG and with a .789 OPS with no errors.
“It was great,” Lombardozzi said. “It was good to see the other coaches like (Tony) Tarasco and (Matt) LeCroy - good to see the guys I hadn’t seen in awhile, especially my teammates.”
Lombardozzi says instructs was an excellent opportunity to work on parts of his game he thought needed some fine tuning.
“It is kind of similar to spring training. It was nice. I got to talk to some of the coaches. I had about a week down there. I told them a couple of things I wanted to work on before I went to Arizona just to get a little extra work.
“Defensively, it was some foot work stuff, moving out on a couple balls I get at second base. Offensively, I worked a little extra on my right handed swing because I didn’t get that many at bats from the right side.”
Lombardozzi, who has been switch hitting since he was 11 years old, saw his fair share of lefties while in Woodbridge. But he didn’t get to face enough south paws after his mid-season call up.
“When I got to Double-A, I was actually surprised there weren’t as many lefties as I thought I would face,” Lombardozzi remembers.
He says the Nationals’ hitting coaches have helped at each level.
Harrisburg hitting coach “Troy Gingrich has been awesome. It was good to work with Troy once I got up to Harrisburg. It was really professional. He goes about his business,” Lombardozzi said.
Lombo is not tired after playing so many games this summer and really cherishes his time in Arizona.
“So far it has been awesome. The best thing is just being around this group of guys. Everyone is here for the same reason. The way everybody goes about their business is just good to be in that environment. Facing the pitching this is the best of the best.
“We got a real good club. We got guys that just play the game. Everyone has been getting along well so far so it has been fun.”
Being paired with Michael Burgess and Derek Norris most of the season and now in Arizona has also been critical to their progress.
“It is good to have a group of guys moving up together. I think we all got each other’s backs and we look out for each other.”
Lombardozzi also has enjoyed watching Bryce Harper’s first summer and fall with the big club.
“It has been fun to watch (Harper) take batting practice. It is great that he is only 18 years old. You can tell he loves the game and he has a passion for it.”
He also says it is important the AFL has an All-Star game (Rising Stars game Nov. 6) and a championship game.
“I think everybody is glad we are actually playing for something. If there wasn’t really a playoff we would just be going out there. We are doing well so far, so it has been a lot of fun.
“It has been a long season, but I couldn’t be in a better spot right now being, asked to come to Arizona. It is definitely going to benefit me without a doubt.”
As for a World Series pick? Lombardozzi is pulling for the Rangers - not because he has buddies on the team but he likes to root for the underdog.
Hopefully, another underdog can take a bite out of the NL East, sooner rather than later, with players like Lombardozzi working their way up the chain.