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Hambrice Gets Accustomed To New Role


By Patrick Hickey Jr

Hambrice has been a super utility man for the Cyclones

Jeremy Hambrice may have grown up in a small town in Magnolia, Arkansas, but you wouldn’t notice it by watching him play.


Hambrice, the Mets 31st round pick this year out of Southern Arkansas University has made a solid transition from college ball to the pros, hitting .241 with a homer and six RBI’s in a utility-man role and seems to be having a blast playing in front of the fans at Keyspan Park.


“There are 10,000 people in the town where I grew up,” said Hambrice. “I never played in front of a crowd that was big enough to count before coming here.”


While his stats aren’t eye popping, Hambrice has started games at five different positions for Brooklyn this season and has a .270 batting average with runners on base. Hambrice’s left handed bat and solid speed has also made him a valued commodity off the Cyclones bench, being used as a pitch hitter and runner occasionally as well.


“I try and not think as much while I’m at the plate,” said Hambrice to why his average is 29 points higher when runners are on. “I just try and hit the ball hard.”


One reason why Hambrice’s stats don’t tell the whole story is because he gets most of his plate appearances against tough lefties and hasn’t really had a chance to get comfortable playing one position on the field, spelling Tim Grogan from time to time at first base and the often erratic Jon Sanchez in right. Despite being a third baseman by trade, Hambrice doesn’t have a problem playing different positions and can often be seen taking extra grounders at practice.


“I want to work as hard as I can while I’m here,” said Hambrice. “Anytime I get a chance to do some extra work I’m more than willing.”


Modeling his game after Atlanta Braves superstar Chipper Jones, Hambrice has even shown some similarities to Jones, playing dependably at both third base and left field. While his power numbers are a far cry away from Chipper’s, Hambrice has made up for it by hitting well in the clutch and has made good plays on defense at every position he’s played this year.


“I grew up a Braves fan and Chipper Jones was my favorite player,” said Hambrice. “Mets fans probably don’t want to hear that. Growing up, I played third base and wore number 10 all through college. I don’t switch hit though, if I could change one thing it would probably be that. As far as anything else, I like to think I carry myself like him.”


Being an everyday player in college and an all-state quarterback and cornerback in high school, Hambrice isn’t the type of player that is used to being on the bench. Nevertheless, he is focused on making the most of every chance he gets on the field and is confident he’ll get the chance to play everyday eventually.


 “It was hard at first. I never sat on a bench my entire life,” said Hambrice. “For that to be my role on the team at first was tough. I don’t like it, but that’s my role on this team that’s what I have to do. I have to keep doing well whenever I’m out there and prove that I’m an everyday player.”

All Photographs for this article were taken by Conroy Walker

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