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Appy notes: K-Mets duo keep positive08/23/2012 11:06 AM ET
By Bob Sutton / Special to MLB.com
Kingsport Mets left fielder Joe Tuschak and second baseman Branden Kaupe, both early Draft picks out of high school, insist their experiences in the Appalachian League have been good and said they're counting on their numbers improving in time.
"The hitting has been mostly mental," Tuschak said. "I get down on myself too much, especially when I'm struggling. It's in my head. ... It's life. You have to work your way back out of it."
Kaupe, a switch-hitter who was a fourth-round pick out of Baldwin High School in Hawaii this year, said he believes he's setting a solid foundation during the summer.
"The toughest thing I learned is accepting failure," Kaupe said. "It's something I wasn't used to in high school. It's more mental now."
Tuschak, 19, and Kaupe, 18, are trying to raise their batting averages above .200 in the final week of the season.
"It's been a good experience," said Tuschak, who spent more than a month last year in the Gulf Coast League after he was a sixth-round selection out of high school in Pennsylvania. "I'm figuring things out as I play more games. I still feel like I'm improving. I just thought I was going to hit -- just waiting for my hitting to come around."
He said he has stayed upbeat, even when a pulled hamstring during extended spring training limited his opportunities.
"There's always going to be a tomorrow," said Tuschak, who figures he's swinging through too many pitches. "That's what I've always been telling myself."
Kaupe, who's 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, said it has been a whirlwind couple of months. He was expecting to attend Central Arizona, a two-year school, until his stock rose and he was drafted several rounds earlier than he expected.
"I looked at my dad and I said, 'I don't think I'm going to go to college any more,'" Kaupe recalled.
For Kaupe, seeing a regular diet of fastballs in the 90s is something he's adjusting to.
"We have more games to play to try to get our average up," he said. "I'm not the biggest guy, so I have to do everything right. I'm putting the ball in play a lot. I just don't get any breaks."
Kaupe joined Kingsport without knowing anyone on the club. He said he receives support from family and friends back home.
"They keep telling me I'm young and I've got time. At the same time, I'm living today," he said. "It's easy to miss home. Probably the good thing that helps me out to keep me going is the teammates pushing me to work hard."
Tuschak won't participate in fall instructional league with the Mets as he has permission to attend fall-semester classes at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He said he'll work out there in early preparation for the 2013 season.
Ready for action: Danville Braves third baseman Trenton Moses has been batting above .300 despite a platoon situation for a chunk of the season.
"You just have to take advantage of the opportunities when you get them," Moses, a first-year player out of Southeast Missouri State, told the Danville Register and Bee. "I'm thankful for any opportunities I get. ... You may sit two or three games or play two or three games in a row, but you've always got to be ready to go and stay upbeat."
Don't count us out: The two-time defending champion Johnson City Cardinals are scratching to qualify for the playoffs. Winning seven of eight games in mid-August kept the Cardinals in the mix, including three consecutive games with late rallies. "Unbelievable [those three games]," Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told the Johnson City Press. "Crazy may explain it best."
Keep the faith: Burlington Royals left-hander Patrick Conroy, the league's reigning Pitcher of the Week, was locked in a duel with the Princeton Rays' Kevin Brandt, who was lifted after five perfect innings last week. Then the Royals picked up a couple of runs, and Conroy was the winner with seven shutout innings.
"I knew the perfect game wasn't going to last," Conroy said. "With our offense, it [could] be gone in one swing."