Questions and answers with Orioles' Heston Kjerstad - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Questions and answers with Orioles’ Heston Kjerstad

Heston Kjerstad
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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SARASOTA, Florida—Heston Kjerstad won’t make the short trip from Ed Smith Stadium to North Port for the Orioles’ spring training game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday. Kjerstad, the overall No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, made his big league debut in September, hitting .233  (7-for-30) with two home runs and 30 RBIs. The outfielder/designated hitter was on the roster for the Division Series but didn’t get to play.

It’s been a quiet spring for the 25-year-old Kjerstad, a left-handed hitter with outstanding power. He’s hitting .143 (2-for-14) in his first five games.

Kjerstad answered questions about his spring and life in the big leagues on Friday morning.

Question: How’s the spring going for you?

Kjerstad: “It’s been good so far. Getting things rolling again. It’s been good to be back playing and all that. It’s been good so far.”

Q: How much did you learn from your time in the majors during the last few weeks of the season?

Kjerstad: “A lot. There was so much, being able to be up in the big leagues was one thing and being able to be part of the playoff push and part of the playoffs. You’re able to see things from the winning side and also see things up in the big leagues and also learn how to handle it up there, see the competition. It was a lot of fun, too, to be a part of that.”

Q: How much of your spring training  is working on your outfield defense?

Kjerstad: “A lot of it. If I can be a better defender in the outfield, I’ll help the team in any way I can. You want to be good at everything you do in the game, whether it’s becoming a better hitter or working on a few things there, but also improving defensively and even baserunning. That way you can help the team as much as you can.”

Q: Do you feel more comfortable in left or right field? What’s the difference for you?

Kjerstad: “It doesn’t really matter at this point because I’ve been able to bounce around between the two. Even though they’re both corner outfield, they’re pretty similar, but also a little different at the same time. You have to pay attention to who’s up, a righty or a lefty. Left or right field, the ball is going to move a little bit different. You’ve got to anticipate that. Besides that, to me, they’re pretty much the same.”

Q: Is the idea of playing left field in Camden Yards intimidating because there’s so much ground there?

Kjerstad: “No, it’s a different opportunity because you have more ground to cover. Definitely it feels different when you’re out in left and the ball is so far behind you because you’re not used to that. It’s just like any other position. There are some oddities in the game if you’re playing left at Minute Maid [Park] or Fenway. Every field has some quirks that you have to make adjustments to, whether it’s the fence or stuff like that where you’ve got to play, the ball is ricocheting off it. There are just subtle adjustments that you have to make [in] every park you play at.” ‘

Q: What’s the most fun thing about being in the b[ig leagues?

Kjerstad: “Honestly, all of it is fun, in my opinion, [in] the short time I’ve been up there. I think the whole aspect of it, the games, obviously, the fields, the stadiums and wearing the uniform is pretty sweet.”

Q: What’s the longest ball you’ve ever hit?

Kjerstad: “I’m not really sure. In game, probably 450, 460 [feet] when I was in college. That’s probably the farthest I’ve had, and then [batting practice], who knows?”

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