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Banter From The Bench: Garrett Hampson adds bulk to bag of tricks

Patrick Lyons Avatar
March 22, 2022

As one of the younger players expected to make the Opening Day roster, Garrett Hampson has been around for a while.

He has more than three years of service time and is one of only eight Rockies who remain from the team’s last postseason appearance in 2018.

One could characterize a utility player like him as a man without a position, but he’s more like a man with several positions.

The 27-year-old was drafted as a shortstop in the 3rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft from Long Beach State and began to play some second base once Trevor Story emerged as a defensive heavyweight. 

Then just before making his debut in 2018, he started learning to play outfield, specifically center field, where he’s played more than any other position.

Hampson opened Spring Training with a leadoff home run on Thursday and, based on the following conversation, there could be a lot more of that in his future.

Patrick Lyons: How did the offseason go for you?

Garrett Hampson: It was good. A little different with the question marks out there. But it’s just good to be here. Good to be back with the boys and getting ready to go.

Lyons: How much of a wrench did the lockout kind of throw into the works as far as knowing when to be ready by?

Hampson: I think I could speak for a lot of the guys: we prepared the same way in order to be ready to go when Spring Training was supposed to be. We got a little more time, so I think everybody should be ready. I don’t think it’s too big of a deal, for me. Now we’re all here and we can prepare to get the season started.

Lyons: What were some of the offseason things that you had yourself work on?

Hampson: Just cleaning up some things. Hitting, obviously, some outfield play. Keep the feet going in the infield. So, sharpening up everything and just fine tuning some things.

Jul 28, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Colorado Rockies second baseman Garrett Hampson (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Los Angeles Angels on a double by Colorado left fielder Raimel Tapia (not pictured) during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Lyons: Would it be safe to say you put on a couple extra pounds of muscle this offseason?

Hampson: Yeah. It’s safe to say that. Not too much. I usually get it in spring and lose it a little bit quick. So I’m just gonna try to keep it on the best I can. I like where I’m at right now.

Lyons: It might seem strange, but you’re kind of one of the veteran players on the team now with so many of these young guys. How has that been knowing there are guys looking to you now for some experience?

Hampson: It is crazy how time flies. I remember my first first Spring Training here up with the big league team. It’s crazy. We got a lot of younger guys here, but it’s good. A lot of opportunity out there this year. Personally, I don’t feel like I still approach it the same way. I’m going to go out and earn what I got. So that’s how I’m approaching it. But, it definitely feels like I’ve been around a little bit.

Lyons: Is there a fraternity at all amongst utility players who have to be ready to play second base, shortstop and outfield? Is there a small group of guys that you have that camaraderie with?

Hampson: I think there’s a little respect for one another there. It’s not the easiest. You got to be sharper at a lot of different positions and every position is different. So, on the days I’m playing outfield, I’m gonna miss some things in the infield where guys can can work on a specific thing. So it takes a little bit more readiness for anything when the lineup gets posted. But, I take pride in it.

Lyons: Is there any way you can see yourself playing a little bit more this year, based on conversations with the coaching staff?

Hampson: Haven’t heard too much yet. Up the middle somewhere. Second, short or center. Wherever the team needs me. That’s kind of what I pride myself on so I’ll be ready to go.

Lyons: And then with this added muscle you have, you’ll bat anywhere in the lineup now too?

Hampson: (Laughs) Hopefully cleanup. I’m thinking cleanup this year, but we’ll see.


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