Denker adjusts to life as a reserve
Rookie putting in extra work in order to be ready off the bench
NEW YORK -- Being a Major Leaguer involves constant adjustments as hitters and pitchers strive to counter each other's strengths. But the adjustment that Travis Denker is currently making doesn't involve opponents.Denker, an everyday player in his previous three professional seasons, must now adapt to his reserve role. The 22-year-old rookie infielder has started in only seven of his 23 appearances since being recalled on May 20 yet has managed to hit a respectable .265, with a .529 slugging percentage. Denker isn't concerned with his playing time, or the lack of it.
"I'm here. I'm happy," Denker said. "I know the Giants have a plan. It's a challenge, but we're always facing challenges throughout life, too."For Denker, the biggest difference between being a regular and a substitute is the extra work he must perform to get ready to come off the bench. He routinely takes additional grounders at second and third base, and as much batting practice as he can handle. "I normally didn't do this much work, because I'd try to save my energy for the game," he said. "I'd get my ground balls in and some throws. Now, this is my game, to practice and be as sharp as I can."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.