TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Rays infielder Daniel Robertson was having a break out year last season, reaching career highs in every major category.
His batting average took a huge jump, but that all came to an abrupt halt in August when Robertson was injured sliding head-first into second base. His season ended with surgery to repair his thumb.
"[I'm] happy to be back and ready to go," Robertson told FOX 13's Kevin O'Donnell. "Obviously it was a bummer, especially how well the team played the last couple months. Being on the shelf and watching them, it was great to see, but obviously, you wanted to be a part of that."
In his three spring trainings with the Rays, Daniel Robertson's confidence has increased, knowing he's being counted on. The disappointment of a season cut short is behind him and he's encouraged about the progress he made.
"What helped me go to the next level was just the mentality," said Robertson. "My mental state, dissecting each at-bat with short term goals. Not thinking big picture, long term, trying to hit homeruns, stuff like that. I was just minimizing my thoughts, just trying to take it one pitch at a time."
Roberston gives credit to teammate Matt Duffy for taking that approach and as being part of the reason behind his break out season. The most valuable bit of advice from Duffy was for Robertson to pick up a book, a specific one.
"The Mental Keys to Hitting," said Robertson. "It's a basic book and has been around forever, but the tools that I learned by reading that book. How to breathe at an at bat. How to slow it down."
The Rays infield is as deep as it's ever been with six players, who all could start anywhere from second to third.
"That's huge," said Robertson. "Throughout the course of 162 games, you need a lot of pieces involved. I think we are all on board with that mentality, next guy up if someone goes down. Everyone being capable of understanding their role, moving around and doing what's best for the team. At the end of the day, I don't think we have one selfish player on this club. We all fight for each other and are there for each other. That's how it's going to work."