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Prospect Q&A: Olt breaking back in

Rangers infield prospect survived up-and-down 2011 season
March 15, 2012
Mike Olt dealt with more highs and lows last season than most players.

The Rangers' 2010 first-rounder opened the season in Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach, getting off to a strong start with a .286 average, 10 homers and 34 RBIs over the first 52 games before suffering a broken collarbone June 6. The 23-year-old Connecticut native missed the next two months and struggled upon his return.

Olt rediscovered his groove in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 1.197 OPS, good for second in the league, and made the circuit's Top Prospects Team.

He took time from Spring Training earlier this week to talk about the lessons he learned from 2011, facing Yu Darvish and his favorite iPhone games. You grew up in Connecticut and played at UConn. Was starting your professional career with short-season Spokane in 2010 a bit of a culture shock?

Mike Olt: At first I didn't even know where Spokane was located, so that definitely made it different for me. When I got to Spokane, it's a nice spot and it's got a different atmosphere than Connecticut, but all the people there were nice and the weather was perfect. That helps ease you into everything. How frustrating was it to miss two months of the 2011 season with a broken collarbone?

Olt: It definitely was frustrating, but I took a lot of positives out of it. I was able to get back here [to Arizona] and get back into shape. The biggest thing for me was to not sulk on what happened, it was a freak accident. I just tried looking forward to getting back on the field. What went right for you in '11?

Olt: I tried to work on my swing, become more compact and tried to become more consistent. I just tried to have a better hitting position -- a better base -- and that helped me carry into the Fall League. I felt like I was more consistent, balanced and gained more confidence. 2011 had its ups-and-downs, but I ended it with a confidence booster, and it helped me coming into Spring Training. How has this Spring Training gone for you?

Olt: Obviously, the big league camp has been a great experience. I've been sitting back and watching all the guys on the team go about their business. Basically, every day just try and learn from them. That's something I'm going to try and carry into the season. One of the storylines with the Rangers this offseason was the signing of Yu Darvish. Have you had a chance to watch him pitch?

Olt: I faced Yu in a live batting practice session. He's got some great stuff, the ball just jumps out of his hand and his presence on the mound is something hitters are going to take notice of. He's gonna have a lot of wins for the Texas Rangers. Do you have any goals for the upcoming season?

Olt: I don't really set goals, but obviously, I want to continue to get better as a player and hopefully progress in the Minors. I guess the biggest thing for me is to continue to work on my swing and get better from there. What would you be doing if you weren't playing baseball?

Olt: That's a good question. I thought about that in college a lot and I had no idea. So I don't know exactly what I'd be doing, so that's why I'm glad I'm playing baseball. When did you know you wanted to play baseball professionally?

Olt: I always wanted to play professionally, but when I first started realizing I had a chance to pursue, it would probably be my freshman year of college. What made you realize that?

Olt: We're in the Big East, we played in a good conference, saw a lot of good arms and I had a pretty good year. That's when I set my eyes on it and I was determined to get better. What is your favorite ballpark to play in as a visitor?

Olt: I haven't played in many ballparks. I have played in Fenway, there's a lot of tradition and it's a fun place to be, so I would say Fenway. Do you listen to any particular music to get yourself pumped up?

Olt: I do it all. It depends on what kind of mood I'm in. There's nothing better than a nice day, the sun's out, country music going on. There are other days when I need a little pump-up and I'll get a little hip hop going on or something along those lines. Any particular favorites?

Olt: There's this new country singer out right now Jana Kramer, she's my favorite right now. Hopefully she sees that.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to