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July 28, 2010

Minor Issues

Welcome to Pro Ball Tyson Kendrick

by David Laurila

Tyson Kendrick is excited to be in pro ball, but he isn’t exactly living the high life. Drafted by the Tigers in the 49th round, out of Tabor College, the Arkansas City, Kansas native is instead immersed in a lifestyle of peanut-butter sandwiches, long bus rides and even longer odds. A 22-year-old catcher, Kendrick is beginning his career with the short-season Connecticut Tigers.

David Laurila: What is pro ball like?

Tyson Kendrick: Pro ball is a lot of hard work. People think that it’s a glamorous life, but while it is a great life to live, you put in a lot of hours. I had some kind of an idea of what it would be like, but it’s still a bit of shock when you actually get here.

DL: As a 49th-round pick, is there pressure on you to outperform the higher-round guys in order get a fair shot?

TK: When I signed, I knew that I’d have to fight for time, that other guys were going to get more opportunities, so there is some added pressure. At the same time, there’s not as much pressure, because as a 49th rounder, nobody really expects too much out of you. So I guess there’s a little bit of both. The guys are great, though, and so are the coaches and the organization. They treat everybody the same way, so I feel just like anybody else.

DL: Stephen Strasburg got a $7.5 million dollar signing bonus. How much did you get?

TK: I got $1,000. That’s because I was a senior sign, along with being that late of a pick.

DL: The standard salary at this level is $1,100 a month. How well can you live on that?

TK: You can’t. I’m just trying to…I’m not out there spending all sorts of money this summer; I’m trying to save up and prepare for my future beyond baseball.

We also get $25 a day for meal money. You kind of have to get some fast food now and again, but it’s not too bad. It just got moved up to $25 -- I think it used to be $20 -- and that extra five dollars helps. I can usually get by on $25 a day.

DL: I assume that you have clubhouse dues?

TK: Yes, when we’re home, we pay clubhouse dues. Those are six dollars a day and include laundry and food, and stuff like that.

DL: The spreads in the clubhouse are presumably somewhat less than what big leaguers get.

TK: Peanut butter and jelly, and some fruit. That’s about it.

DL: What have the most interesting bus trips been thus far?

TK: So far it has been going to Tri-City, in New York. I had never been to New York before. We’re actually going to Staten Island after here and I’m looking forward to that. We have an off day, too, so I’m looking forward to seeing some of it.

Earlier, we went from Batavia to Tri-City -- I think that’s what it was -- and it was a five-hour trip, but we got in late. We actually took the wrong way, so we got in at three o’clock [a.m.] and we had a game that day. We had to be at the park at eleven o‘clock, so that was a quick turnaround.

DL: What have the hotels been like?

TK: You know, they’ve been pretty nice lately. You hear horror stories about minor- league hotels, but to me they’ve all been nice.

DL: You’ve been in pro ball for just over a month. What has been the highlight so far?

TK: Just the experience, and the first game I got into, I got a hit, so that was a big milestone, a big highlight. I’m just trying to soak up everything. I want to be a coach after this, so I want to learn everything that I can.

I’ve been grateful to have great coaches along the way and I want to do that someday. I want to help out kids get to college and maybe get polished enough to get to the next level, just like my college coach did for me. It’s exciting to be here.

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