German first baseman/outfielder Donald Lutz (@braunerhulk) has already reported to Major League Spring Training with the Cincinnati Reds and is getting in shape for the upcoming season. In 2012 he was an All Star in the California League, got promoted to Double-A, played for Germany in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Regensburg and concluded the season with a stint in the Arizona Fall League. He was so kind to answer a few questions for Mister-Baseball.
Mister-Baseball: How did you like playing in front of a home crowd at the WBC Qualifier in Regensburg?
Donald Lutz: It was great playing in front of a home crowd I was pumped up every time I took the field and they had our back all the way didn’t matter what score or inning it was! It was awesome
Mister-Baseball: You played a strong Arizona Fall League until fracturing your finger. Are you completely healthy again? How did this injury occur?
Donald Lutz: Yeah, I’m 100 % it just took me about 4 weeks to recover from the injury. I was playing first base and a bad hop just bounced up and I tried to protect my face with my hand.
Mister-Baseball: You now have spent more than a year on the 40-man roster of the Cincinnati Reds. What are the perks being on this elusive list compared to your previous life as a regular minor leaguer?
Donald Lutz: Hmm. Not too much. I mean the biggest thing is that I get invited to the big league spring training. That’s the biggest thing for me! And people treat you with a lot more respect too!
Mister-Baseball: You’re going to Arizona early this year. Has this something to do with your AFL injury? What is your daily routine until the games start at the end of the month?
Donald Lutz: I usually always come out here early to get used to the time and weather to just get in my daily routine because back home I can only do so much baseball stuff and out here I can do everything all day long!
I usually get out to the complex around 6.30am, get some breakfast, hop in the hot tub to get my body warmed up and then stretch. After that I go in the cage hit some balls off the tee and front toss. After that we take it out on the field to do defensive work and maybe hit on the field as well. When I’m done with that I go back in the cage get some breaking balls to hit and then off to the gym to get a workout and some cardio in! That’s it.
Mister-Baseball: Taking a look back at 2012. You continued to mash your way through the Reds farm system until that Oblique injury. You still made the jump to Double-A. What caused your troubles at the plate after coming back from injury? Any news yet if you will return to Double-A or even get promoted to Triple-A?
Donald Lutz: Yeah I was pretty much out of rhythm … my timing was messed up and I was in my own head trying to do too much and stuff. Just got away from my game plan…
I’m not sure yet where I will start this year. It doesn’t really matter to me if AA or AAA as long as I get to play every day because you can get called up from either one!
Mister-Baseball: What is your mindset when you’re stepping to the plate? How has this changed throughout the last couple of years?
Donald Lutz: My mindset… My first couple of years I didn’t really had a game plan. I just went up there to swing the bat not knowing what the pitcher was trying to do with me. But over the years I got smarter and I just tell myself that I am better than the guy on the mound and that I will beat him!
You just need self-confidence otherwise you have lost already. I tell myself that I’m the s***. Hahaha, not sure if you can write that.
Mister-Baseball: Last but not least. What do you think about Joey Votto? Just kidding. How do you see your chances of making the big leagues?
Donald Lutz: I think my chances are more realistic this year than last year and if I stay healthy and stay consistent throughout the year there is a good chance! I definitely will make a push this year!
Mister-Baseball thanks Donald Lutz for answering our questions and wishes good luck for the upcoming season.
Photos: © Walter Keller, www.catchthefever.de