04/29/08 10:18 PM ET
Erstad works daily on fielding prowess
Former Gold Glove winner doesn't take that part of game lightly
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
Erstad, the only player in history to win Gold Gloves as an infielder and an outfielder, practices fielding more now than he has in the past. As a part-time player, he could be called upon to fill in at all three outfield positions plus first base. To keep himself sharp, he does his best to create game situations during off hours.
That's why when players take early batting practice, Erstad shows up, too.
"When I was playing one position every day, it wasn't too hard to get work in," he said. "But being that there's four positions I could play, there's just not enough time during batting practice to get it all in."
Erstad prefers fielding batting practice fly balls rather than those coaches hit off fungoes, so his only option is to show up early when select teammates are taking a few extra rounds of batting practice. He shags fly balls at every outfield position, which gives him ample opportunity to work on the different angles and slices that each position presents.
"I'm very routine-oriented as far as getting ready to play," Erstad said. "It is an uncomfortable feeling not having those reps. As much as I can eliminate that, I'm going to try to."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.