Eldred last year -- with Altoona, Indianapolis and the Pirates and in the Arizona Fall league -- amassed 566 at-bats, the equivalent of a full major-league season. He batted a combined .270 with 47 home runs, 130 RBIs and 181 strikeouts.
The hope is that Eldred eventually will cut down on his strikeouts. He seems to be making progress on cutting down his strikeouts. Even though he hit only .186 with three home runs and six RBI in spring training, his strikeout total was nine.
George Von Benko talked one-on-one with the power-hitting prospect.
GVB-- When Sean Casey was acquired during the off season you knew you would start the season at Triple A. Are you disappointed?
BE-- Obviously I’m just going to go about my business the same way and just continue to do the things that I’ve been doing and just do all the things I can do to become a better baseball player. That's not something I'm really going to worry about. I don't feel I'll have a problem playing well regardless of where I am.
GVB-- You’ve been working hard on making more contact at the plate. Are you making progress?
BE-- I feel like I’ve had a lot better approach during the spring and I’ve been able to swing at a lot better pitches and I’ve had some pretty good results. It's just kind of waiting before you react to anything. Sometimes, you get out there and you're so aggressive. I'm trying to get away from that -- just trying to see the ball and hit it. It's to really give yourself a chance to see the ball before you react. It's helped me.
GVB-- Do you hope to make it back to the big leagues this season?
BE-- Things like acquisitions of other players are things you can’t control. All I can really do is focus on the things I can control and that’s just playing baseball and going out there and playing the game and that’s all I’m going to do. Basically I've just been really trying to focus on seeing pitches, making sure I'm taking good swings at good pitches, just trying to improve myself as a player. That's the main focus. They're going to see me play and they're going to see the kind of player I am regardless.