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Reese Hungry For Another Opportunity
On May 12th, Kevin Reese was called up to replace injured outfielder Hideki Matsui who had just been placed on 15-day DL. Reese appeared in five games with the club, with one start. He went 2-5 and was hit by a pitch during his brief stay with the club.
But it was more than just the five games he appeared in; it was about getting to know the organization, the players, and the life of a Major Leaguer. What most surprised Reese was the amount of work these players put in that often goes unnoticed.
"You just look at the way those guys go about their business. There's probably five or six Hall of F amers on that team. It's fun, even as a spectator to watch and see how they do it," he said. "Guys like A-Rod going out there for early work, you never hear about it. You don't know what kind of work ethic they have; obviously they're gifted, but you see they're really team guys, and they're guys like everybody else."
But his relatively modest numbers have gotten praise from the Yankees decision makers upstairs. Clippers' hitting coach Kevin Long said that he got very positive feedback from the Yanks management about Reese's stay.
"I know Brian Cashman was pleased with his performance," said Long. "Don Mattingly called me and told me he liked what he saw offensively."
With that type of response from the Yankees front office, Reese has translated his success in the Majors to success back with the Clippers. Since returning to the club on May 27th, in four games he's hit .318 with 5 runs, one double, one home run and four runs batted in.
"I feel good [being back]. I've felt really comfortable at the plate the last couple of days," said Reese. "Usually after missing some games and not getting consistent at-bats you don't feel comfortable, but I've felt good at the plate."
Long attributes his comfort at the plate to some technical work done on his swing. "We did some mechanical things with his swing, and that's going to help him," explained Long. "He used to have a high leg kick, and we've taken that away from him."
During his stint with New York, Reese took full advantage of his time there, soaking up as much knowledge as he could. "Just hanging out and seeing how they do things, talking to the pitchers, it was great," he said.
But there was one guy who probably helped him the most. "I talked to Randy Johnson a lot, listening to him talk about hitters, anything you can pick up from those guys is nice," said Reese.
But now that he's back, Reese is hungry for another opportunity, and is willing to do whatever it takes to prove he can contribute as a regular player with the Yankees.
"My goal is to have a successful season and have good at-bats and play good defense, and do all the things that it takes to get up to the next level," he said. "Going up there for a few days was nice, but I want to stay up there consistently."
His hitting coach believes that Reese is not too far away, and needs to maintain the momentum he has gained during his stint. "I believe Kevin needs to keep going, and keep working at it here, and hopefully good things will happen, and he'll get to go up to New York [again]," said Long.
Will it be with the Yankees? Reese just got his first real taste of a world-class organization, and his dreams reflect it. But he remains realistic about his chances with the perennial World Champs.
"You hope it's with them, and you hope you get the opportunity to win a World Series yourself, but if an opportunity comes with another team, that's the way it goes," said Reese.
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