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Getting to Know: Travis Witherspoon

Centerfielder Travis Witherspoon was drafted in 2009 by the Angels in the 12th round from Spartanburg Methodist College (a two-year school). On July 14 at Springfield, Witherspoon hit two home runs in one game for the fifth time in his career. He added his 10th home run for the season at Northwest Arkansas this past Monday and is batting .222 with 12 doubles and three triples and an on-base percentage of .312.

One of the things noted about you is your plate discipline. What are you doing to improve that area?

I’m working on consistency in the plate and getting consistent at bats and trying to get quality at bats. It’s about trusting the process and believing in yourself. There is a plan and a process for every at bat, and it changes every at bat in every game.

How do you deal with knowing the talented outfield ahead of you in the Angels’ organization?

I know the outfield is talented and crowded. I have to be patient because I have wanted to play since I was a little kid. Basically, you have to give them a reason to make a move. If you take care of business, you will force their hand.

Talk about how you play centerfield and how you learn to read the ball.

I take lots of live reads off batting practice and also focus on my footwork. It’s all about repetitions and working on footwork to get better jumps. By taking live reads off batting practice, when I’m in the game I’ll see a ball hit and know where it’s going to go because I’ve seen one like that before. There are lots of variables, and it becomes more natural. As for the wall, you instinctively know how many more steps you can take before you hit it. If an outfielder is doing a good job, he makes it look easy.

Since the all-star break, you started hitting the ball better with your average at .243 and five of your doubles and three home runs occurring in that stretch. What is different?

I’m taking the pressure off myself. Coming into the season, I wanted to do so well and was putting pressure on myself. I’ve started to relax, play baseball and trust my ability and am also having fun.

Goals other than making the Big Leagues?

I want to take care of my family and have a positive effect on other people. I want to use baseball as a leadership role and be an influence on people and someone they can look up to.

Two interesting things about you?

I play ping-pong every chance I get. I also eat my dessert first. About a year ago, I was eating and was too full for dessert so now I eat it first and then my dinner.

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