Terhune Breaking Out of Slump, Bringing Leadership to Senators
June 26, 2008. Vienna, Va. -- When Senators shortstop Gunnar Terhune lined a home run just over the left field wall Monday night at Banneker Field, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“I was just trying to swing as hard as I can, in case I hit it,” said Terhune. “I've been struggling a little bit, and I missed the first two fastballs that [Grays pitcher Zach Biery] threw me. Sometimes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut.”
While Terhune's self-deprecating assessment of his performance up to this point may not be entirely justified, Terhune has not started fast in his first few games with the Senators. Terhune was batting under .300 entering Monday night's game against the Grays, and had made a couple of errors.
“I was just putting too much pressure on myself,” said Terhune. “It's really led to an up and down season.”
Terhune was brought in by Senators management eleven games into the season. He attends the University of California-Santa Barbara, which doesn't get out of school until later than most colleges due to its quarter system.
“Gunnar was brought to us by way of an assistant coach at UCSB,” said Senators manager Chris Burr. “We needed a middle infielder, and he was a starter for their fine program with experience. He is a fine fielding second baseman, who can play shortstop, and he should bring some speed to our lineup.”
Terhune has hit all up and down the lineup. He has batted the most in the second spot, but has also hit in the eighth and ninth spot. He also led off for the first time against the Grays Monday night.
“I know that I'm going to be a positive contributor for this team with the bat,” said Terhune. “So right now I'm just trying to focus on playing hard, playing good defense and the hits will come.”
Burr also expressed confidence that Terhune's offensive slump will be temporary, and that Terhune projects to be a high on-base percentage player, who can wreak havoc on the base paths.
With the arrival of Terhune, shortstop Alfred Rodriguez has been relegated to a reserve role. Rodriguez, who is one of the younger players on the team, has tried to just focus on playing his best and letting the situation resolve itself.
“We're always competing out there,” said Rodriguez. “I'm just trying to get better every day.” At the same time, Rodriguez said that he is trying to watch and learn from Terhune, who has two years of college experience under his belt. Rodriguez will be a freshman next year at the University of Maryland.
Burr agreed with this sentiment, saying that, “Gunnar should be able to help [Alfred's] progression. Alfred has a chance to be a pretty special player.”
Even though Terhune may not being making the impact with the bat that he wants, he has already established himself as a presence in the clubhouse.
“Gunnar is an active verbal player who appreciates the players around him,” said Burr. “He has brought some life to our clubhouse atmosphere.”
“Ever since the day that he came here, [Gunnar] has been a leader,” said Rodriguez. “He is very vocal, but very positive with all of his teammates.”