Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who is just 22 years old, is one of the bright young stars in baseball. The left-handed-hitting native of Florida made his Major League debut last year and, in 128 games, he hit .293 with 19 home runs, 78 RBIs and 11 steals. The third overall Draft pick in 2008 by Kansas City, Hosmer finished third in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2011. This year, he hit his first home run during the second game of the season. He recently answered questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
04/12/2012 4:28 PM ET
Eric Hosmer's future is bright
Royals first baseman was one of game's best rookies in '11
By Jeff Moeller / MLBPLAYERS.com
MLBPLAYERS.com: Even though you accomplished a lot in 2011 as a rookie, you were not with the Royals to open the season. Heading into the first week of this season, what were you looking forward to the most?
Eric Hosmer: I was really excited. To get to experience my first Opening Day and for it to be on national television was great. I know all of my family and friends back home were really excited. For me, I was just waiting to see what it would be like and I was excited about the opportunity.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Who was watching and where were they watching?
Hosmer: My mom and my uncle came out to Anaheim for the opener. Lots of family and friends back home in Florida were watching the game on TV. I think it was cool for them to get to watch my first opener on TV.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you accomplish what you wanted to in Spring Training?
Hosmer: You get your work in, you get your timing down, so, yes. You get in game shape, and you help prepare your body for a full season. I think everyone in our group, everyone on our club, got their work in and did what they needed to do to get ready for this season.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Prior to Spring Training, what did you do physically to prepare for the 162-game schedule?
Hosmer: I do a lot of hard work in the offseason on the whole and a lot of hard work when it came to weight training. You turn the volume up a little bit more in the offseason because you are not playing in games obviously. Overall, it was a lot of hard work and a lot of conditioning to get my body ready. I want to try and stay healthy the entire season.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How did Spring Training this year compare to the previous Spring Training?
Hosmer: This year, I kind of came in and delayed the process a little bit. You can come to Spring Training ready to go, and I came in and delayed my hitting process by about two weeks. I just waited a little longer because it is a longer season up here. You just sort of want to get your body ready for the games in October and not use it up those first few weeks of Spring Training.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You have garnered a lot of media attention. Is that something that you are used to?
Hosmer: It is a little something new I would say, but it is cool. I think it is people noticing the changes that the Royals are making. I think a lot of people are excited to watch this team and to watch this team come together. We have a lot of talent. It is cool for us and it is cool for the organization to get our names out there and have the whole world know who we are.
MLBPLAYERS.com: As part of that attention, do you see or hear your name associated with other players in particular?
Hosmer: No, not really. For me, I like watching a lot of video, and I try and take what I can from somebody else's swing. I see if I can add it to my swing, and I see if it works for me or not.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you now reflect back on your rookie campaign?
Hosmer: I believe that it was a good start for me. It was good to come up and see all the parks and a lot of the pitching. I got to kind of know the league. At the same time, I am glad that I can now put that in the past. Now, I just worry about helping get this team to the playoffs.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What did you do for fun in the offseason?
Hosmer: I had a nice place by the beach, so some buddies and I would go to the beach every once in a while. We would hang out there. It was good for me to get away from baseball for a short period of time and put away the cell phone. It was about relaxing, and it was about enjoying being a kid.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What is your favorite thing to do in Fort Lauderdale?
Hosmer: Going to the beach, for sure. For me that is home and that is where my family and friends are. It is great to spend that time with them. The season is a long one and to go back home and to catch up on everything is great.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.