I spoke to rookie Andrew Lambo this afternoon right after he took batting practice in preparation for his first game at PNC Park. Here's a partial transcript.
How's the first week going for you?
It's an awesome experience. Once-in-a-lifetime. Right now I'm just soaking it all up.
What the biggest difference, in your preparation or lifestyle-wise?
From the minors to the majors?
It's the same game. You've definitely have to continue your preparation while you've had success. Jay [Bell] is such an awesome guy, our hitting coach. He asked me what my routine was, and tried to keep it simple as possible, just stick with the routine and do what got you here, and anything we can do to help along the way is awesome.
How exactly are the pitchers you've faced different from pitchers you might face in Triple-A?
They like to get after you, especially a guy just coming up. They like to get ahead, [and] don't really want to put you on for anything careless, so you're definitely going to get some quality pitches. Scouting reports are huge. [They're] a little bit better [in the majors]. [You] get a good scouting report, get some videotape on some guys. So you can definitely prepare a little bit better for what's ahead.
[So] you think their perception of you as a rookie affects how they approach you?
Absolutely. You've got guys -- Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Russell Martin, Tabata, all those established [big-leaguers] -- guys like that hitting in front of you, you're probably going to see some pitches, and you're probably going to get some guys on. They definitely want to see what you've got, and so the best thing is knowing your pitcher, knowing the situation and going about it.
You were in Double-A for a really long time after getting there at a really early age. Was there ever a point when you thought, 'This is not going to work'?
It's a tough situation. I was there early, but Double-A is a difficult level. It's make-or-break. There's a lot of talent in Double-A. There's a lot of good arms. It's an adjustment. You've just got to put your head down and play hard.
What's different about you compared to last year that allowed you to put up so much better numbers?
Just my attitude. Just a winning attitude. I hate losing. Poor, poor loser.
But that's different from last year?
There's a lot of things from last year that I was worried about that's things [that are] out of your control. You get really careless in ... trying to control things you can't control, letting that dictate you and letting that bother you. So this year was just, come out, play 110 percent, whatever jersey I'm wearing, I'm wearing it, and [being] just happy to be in a jersey. And just helping the ballclub win.
How did it feel to get your first big-league hit?
It was a sigh of relief. I thought it was never going to happen. [Getting] the first at-bat out of the way was huge. [I] got settled in, and started getting a little bit more comfortable. Just getting quality pitches to swing at, and putting a good swing on them.