People assume that because Mike Olt hails from Connecticut, he should thrive in cold-weather games like the one he played in Monday. And although he did, he didn't exactly warm up to the conditions.
"Everyone always asks about that," Pawtucket's third baseman said. "They're like, 'Oh, you should be used to this cold.' At no point does anyone want to get used to playing in the cold. It's one of those things, I've dealt with it."
Olt did much more than that in Columbus. Olt homered and added three doubles for his first four-hit game in nearly five years as the Triple-A Red Sox outlasted the Clippers, 9-6, on a snowy, frigid night in Ohio.
Gameday box score
"It kind of was (snowy) the whole day, but there were a bunch of windows, I guess you could say," Olt said. "We had some heavy snowfall at some points, and then it would be kind of sunny at some points. It was a weird day."
The cold didn't seem to affect either offense, especially Columbus in the first inning. Francisco Mejia belted a two-run homer to right field -- the second straight game with a blast for Cleveland's top prospect -- Adam Rosales raced for a two-run inside-the-parker on his shot to left-center.
Olt provided the response for the PawSox. The 29-year-old clubbed his first long ball of the season to left-center in the second, a two-run shot that cut the deficit in half.
Video: Olt drives in first two runs with homer in second
"I faced (Clippers starting pitcher) Alexi Ogando," the former Rangers prospect said. "I actually had played with him with Texas, so I knew a little bit about him. He kind of fell behind in the count a little bit, so I was able to get a good hitting count. I missed a 3-1 pitch and kind of had a feeling that he was going to be in the zone for the 3-2 pitch. Luckily, I got a pitch up in the zone and was able to get the barrel on it."
Barreling baseballs became a recurring theme for Olt. The New Haven, Connecticut native roped an RBI double to left in the fourth and doubled to right with one out in the sixth before finishing his four-RBI performance with another run-scoring double to center in the seventh. The last time Olt racked up four hits in a game prior to Monday was Aug. 24, 2013 with Triple-A Iowa against Memphis.
"The only thing in a hitter's mind today is to make sure the barrel to the ball because the last thing you want is to get jammed," Olt said with a laugh. "That's the great thing about baseball, obviously having a good hitting team, you put together a couple good at-bats, a lot of guys will follow that up. It's crazy how the game works. It's kind of contagious, so we were able to stay in the game and get great at-bats going the whole game."
Olt started the season with Double-A Portland and is batting .462/.650/1.000 through his first six games since being promoted to Pawtucket last Tuesday.
"I'm just trying to be a little bit more relaxed at the plate and not try to put any pressure on myself and go out there and let my natural ability take over instead of stressing about trying to perform and put up numbers," he said. "I think that's really been helping me."
The ability to handle the early frosty conditions of the International League hasn't hurt.
"I've played in a lot of warm places in my day, so I forgot how to deal with it," Olt said. "But you get to the point where you really don't want to give up any at-bats. Every at-bat's important. I felt like last year I dealt with it really cold and gave up a lot of at-bats early in the season. I'm trying to have a different mind-set this year and treat every at-bat like it's as important as it should be."