When watching the Primal 9 Kings, you can expect to see shortstop Bobby Pokorney at the top of the lineup. As one of the team’s leading hitters, Pokorney stands out with his long, flowing hair.
Pokorney is also a starting pitcher for the Kings. Pitching is new to Pokorney, as it is something that he never did at Keystone College in Pennsylvania. He’s picked it up this summer under Kings head coach Rick Wolfer and is off to a good start.
Here’s Pokorney’s conversation with Dominic Stearn about being a two-way player:
Q: Bobby, you’re a two way player for the Primal 9 Kings. How do you balance the act of being both a pitcher and a hitter?
A: Basically, when it’s my day to grab the ball, I know I gotta come out here and do my thing on the bump. You gotta get it done. And if I don’t, I pass it on to the team that will get it done for the rest of us. On other days, I can be locked in as a hitter.
Q: There’s some players who are two-way players and on days where they pitch, they just pitch and they don’t hit, but you also hit. You’ve served as a lead off hitter and you were hitting third today while pitching. What’s the process like for you when you’re on the mound, but then all of a sudden you need to take everything and wipe that, and then focus on being a hitter?
A: I like it because it gives you a chance to provide your own run support and you can move runners over and just make it easier on yourself.
Q: Do you prefer either side of the ball?
A: Position player all day. I just started pitching, this is my first time pitching, so I’m a hitter at heart.
Q: You’ve got off to a great start here in the CLPB. What’s that process been like becoming a pitcher? Coach Rick Wolfer is a pitching expert, so how has he helped you become a pitcher?
A: It’s a grind. It’s a lot more rest and more arm care than I’m used to. I’m used to just going out there and playing. Now there’s bands and there’s running. There’s a lot more to make sure I stay healthy.
Q: And is this something that you want to carry on when you go back to school, possibly being a two way player, or are you just gonna try and be a position player like you have been before?
A: I would actually like to try it at school too. Maybe see if I can close a couple games up there instead of starting.
Q: How’s the first couple of weeks been for you at the CLPB? Since it’s a summer league, you’re playing with a lot of new teammates. What’s it been like for you?
A: I love every second of it. It’s hot. The intensity’s here and it’s just Florida gritty baseball and it’s what I’m all about. I just love it.
Q: Do you have a favorite moment thus far here in the CLPB?
A: Any time I step on the field with these guys, it’s great. It’s a memory I’m gonna remember.
Q: Out here, has there been a moment that you’ve taken from coach Rick Wolfer that’s stood out to you or helped you become a better ball player?
A: From the bullpen, he’s just teaching me how to finish pitches or spin pitches a different way. And just the stuff he says, it really makes sense. It really clicks, so I appreciate him helping me with that.
Q: What’s your favorite MLB team?
A: I’m more of a favorite player kind of guy, but if I had to say anything, it’d be the Marlins.
Q: The Marlins. Who’s your favorite player in major league baseball? Is it Jazz Chisholm?
A: I love Jazz Chisholm. How can you not?
Q: Do you take anything you see from Chisholm’s game and try to apply it out here on the field?
A: I know I’m not as smooth as him, but I’ll tell you I’m trying.
Q: What’s one of your favorite things to do in your free time when you’re not at the baseball field?
A: I love to hit the cage. I just love the sound of baseball’s off the bat. I just love the sport so much, so that’s just what I want to do in my free time.
Q: Has baseball been like the only sport you’ve played all your life, or have you been a two sport athlete or even more?
A: No, sir. I’ve always just played baseball. Never was allowed to play anything else.
Baseball junkie, Bobby Pokorney.