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Latimore is settling in well with Indians organization

Latimore is settling in well with Indians organization
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Change is inevitable in the game of professional baseball, and for Double-A Akron outfielder Quincy Latimore, the changes started from the bottom – literally.

Latimore, who was formerly a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, was required to wear his pants down over his socks before he joined the Cleveland Indians’ farm system. Now, he’s done away with the high socks and joined a new team.

Latimore, 24, was traded to the Indians from the Pirates in exchange for Jeanmar Gomez back in January. He spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the double-A Altoona Curve, where he hit a collective .246 for the two seasons combined. He got off to a rough start last season, but resurrected his year with a strong finish.

“Around the All-Star break, I really started to make some changes,” Latimore said. “I finished really [well] from July on through the rest of the season. I probably hit most of my home runs and doubles during the second half, driving in more of my runs that second half and really was just being aggressive in the counts I needed to be in within the zone I needed. I was really happy with the 2012 season, because it could have really tanked and I turned it around.”

This year, the opposite has held true.

Latimore started the season off well and hit a slight slump, but he remains confident in his approach. So far, he’s hitting .248 with five home runs and he says he’s been pleased with the contact he’s been making. He’s put the ball in play and he’s learned how to harbor his aggression at the dish.

“Last year at this time, I had a ton of strikeouts,” he explained. “I was probably hitting .150 and it really wasn’t going well. Now, I really have a grasp on what I want to swing at and when to be aggressive and when to hold back some.”

While every player endures his share of ups and downs, Latimore has learned how to renovate slumps into motivation.

“You’ve just got to realize that you can hit, because you just got done doing it,” he said. “Try not to panic and just realize you’re not going to get hits every night and keep doing the same things you’re doing and it’ll all come back.”

With a better approach at the plate, Latimore can shift some attention to his defense as well. He said he’s working on getting consistent jumps in the outfield and maintaining a humble, focused attitude.

“You can’t get too comfortable out there because boom, that’s when that one ball could get hit to you and that could change the game,” he noted.

As far as change goes, Latimore said he feels comfortable with the Indians’ organization, especially since some of the faces are familiar.

“I was playing against a bunch of these guys last year, so it’s cool being their teammates and getting to know them on a personal level,” he said.

Latimore has even taken a step beyond merely getting to know his teammates. Aeros’ manager Edwin Rodriguez noted Latimore’s leadership skills, something Latimore takes pride in.

“I’ve been in the league for two years and this is my seventh year playing, so I’ve been playing for a while and we’ve got some guys who are in their first year in double-A,” he said.

Latimore was 22 during his first year of double-A ball, so he knows the importance of guidance.

When he isn’t leading his teammates, Latimore spends his time beating them at a different game.  He enjoys bowling during the offseason and plays a lot of pool with teammates. His biggest competitors are third basemanRonny Rodriguez and former Aero [now Frederick Key] Delvi Cid.

Latimore may be the new guy in the organization, but he’s had no trouble adhering to his new team. As he works to advance to the next level he’s remaining positive. His socks may be low, but his hopes are high.

Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.

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