So we got a chance to ask Jio Mier some questions and were able to get an update on his knee injury last night. Let's go...
AC: So what happened last night with your knee, and how are you feeling?
JM: I was covering second base on a stolen base and the throw was a little behind me, so I reached back to get it and my left leg was planted in the ground. I went to go tag him, and he (Lake Elsinore's Wande Olabisi) slid in over-aggressively with both cleats up right into my leg, and it collapsed on me. It's feeling better today just a little sore. I'll be ok though.
AC: You're in your second full season with the Astros, can you reflect on your time with the organization? What's been easier/harder than you expected coming out of high school?
JM: Well, coming into pro ball I knew the daily grind was going to be tough playing every day. So the hardest thing has been getting my body prepared, but after last year I used it as a learning experience on how to prepare this year, how to maintain weight, and being mentally focused day in and day out.
AC: For Greeneville in 2009 you hit .276/.380/.484, and then saw a little bit of a drop-off for Lexington in 2010. What was the biggest adjustment you had to make last year, and what were you working on this past off-season to prepare for 2011?
JM: This off-season I really focused on getting rid of the bad habits I had formed in 2010. Hitting is a lot of muscle memory, so everyday I tried to build good muscle memory and tried to simplify my swing as much as I can to get back to trusting myself and my hands.
AC: What are some of the differences in the skill level between Greeneville and Lexington, and Lexington and Lancaster? Does your day-to-day preparation change?
JM: To be honest, I really don't see a big difference between the levels. Here in Lancaster there are some pitchers that do throw all their pitches for strikes, but other than that it's still the same game.
AC: Overall, your OBP and SLG are up about 20 points in 2011 over your 2010 levels - what are you working on during the season to improve?
JM: I'm seeing the ball a lot better. Last year for most of the first half I wasn't seeing the ball as well as I am now, and that is making me recognize pitches better and balls and strikes. With that, I'm more aggressive with the strikes I get.
AC: You signed relatively early for a 1st Round draft pick, forgoing a scholarship to USC. The Astros haven't - as of right this minute - signed their 2011 draft pick, George Springer. What are the negotiations like for a 1st Round pick, and what's going through Springer's mind as the signing deadline nears?
JM: Well, it's a lot of back and forth communicating between agent and front office, and agent and player. I know George is with my agency, actually, but when I was drafted I went about it a little differently; I told them that I would like to sign quicker than later and that I wanted to get my career started, so my agent went about it in a much different way than Springer. It's definitely a fun experience, but at the same time it is also hectic seeing how you want a deal to happen.
AC: Have you been given any indication from the Astros on your next steps?
JM: I haven't been told anything. They don't really say anything throughout the season, but as of right now I'm just here in Cali and whatever they decide next I'll be up for it.
Big thanks (and best wishes) to Jio Mier for the injury update and the insights.