Parker adjusting to life in the professional ranks

by - Senior Writer -
Parker went 5-for-17 in the series against Greenville, with a homer and three RBI.

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Each time former Clemson quarterback and outfielder Kyle ParkerKyle Parker
#11 6-1, 200
Jacksonville, FL

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stepped to the plate during Tuesday’s series finale between the Asheville Tourists and the Greenville Drive, he would hear a chorus of voices.

There were the usual “Go Tigers” and “Come on Kyle” but there were also catcalls from Gamecock fans and hardcore Greenville fans in attendance.

Welcome to life in the minor leagues.

Parker went 5-for-17 in the series, with a homer and three RBI, and he told TigerNet in the clubhouse following the game that the hardest transition he has had to make is just getting used to playing every day.

“It’s tough, just getting used to playing each and every day with the all the travel,” Parker said. “The days add up so you are just doing a lot. That's pretty much it. But the travel has started to get to me a little bit. In college baseball, you aren't doing as much as we are doing now so it can get to you a little bit.”

Joining Parker in Asheville is former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson, and he says the two have been able to help each other.

“We have a lot in common because we both played football” he said. “It’s been nice to get to know him a little bit better. We have a little bit of the same things going on.”

Parker is hitting a robust .368 in his first 20 games – with two homers and 21 runs batted in – and said his hot start comes down to being healthy for the first time in a while. He said after he suffered a rib injury against Auburn in week two of the football season, he never felt like the same player.

“It was difficult, but it's part of the game, getting beat up,” he said. “Playing with it was a little bit uncomfortable. The thing of it was that I was little bit more beat up than what I was really informed of. Getting the x-rays after the season showed something different, but it's just part of the game.”

He said he has no timetable or goal set for moving forward in the Colorado system and that he just wants to get better every day. He also said that being able to concentrate on just one sport has helped immeasurably.

“I feel like I can really focus on this and try to consistently get better and focus on the little things,” he said. “I have no idea about moving up or how fast. It all depends on the guys making the decisions. I'm just trying to go out every day and show them something that I didn't the day before and get better.

“I think everyone out there is looking for immediate success, but you have days where you are hitting it and days that you aren't. It's just part of the game- you play 140 games and that's just the way it goes. I think as long as I go out every day and continue to get better and try to develop a skill set and try to be a consistent player I will be okay.”

Staying healthy will be a big part of his development, he says.

“I think the biggest thing they want is for me to play a lot of games and show that I can stay healthy,” Parker said. “They want to see me play day in and day out and really have the opportunity to play baseball for a long time. They want me to go out there, and see how I progress and hopefully I'll get better doing this every day.”

Parker said that despite the rough patch at the end of his Clemson career, he only has good memories of his time as a Tiger.

“I had a lot of good experiences there and won a lot of good games,” he said. “Obviously, going to Omaha was a good one, and my freshman year in football was also a good one. There are a lot of good memories that I can take from there.”

He played in front of just under 4,000 fans during Tuesday’s series finale, and he said that while he does feel pressure as a No. 1 draft pick, he can rely on his football experience to get him through.

“Sure, there is a little pressure,” he said. “But then again, I was going out there every Saturday and playing in front of 80,000 or 90,000 fans. You have to try to shield out all of the outside distractions and go out and play your game.”

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