Daniel Solzman: Thanks for joining Redbird Rants today. How are things treating you in Palm Beach?
Packy Elkins: Thanks for having me. Wish I could say things were better, but I just found out I have a stress fracture which will put me out another 2-3 months.
Daniel Solzman: What was it like playing at Belmont under coach Dave Jarvis and how did he prepare you for the next level?
Packy Elkins: Belmont was a great experience for me, especially since Coach Jarvis allowed me to start as a freshman and gain valuable experience right off the bat. Playing at the D1 level and facing top notch talent was very valuable to prepare me for the professional level.
Daniel Solzman: Flashing back to 2010 for a moment, when did you know that you were going to be drafted by the Cardinals and what did it mean to you?
Packy Elkins: I actually never talked to the Cardinals at all during my senior year and only found out during draft day that I would be selected. With the uncertainty that I had that day, I think that made it that much better to me and that call meant the world to me. As someone who had been to St. Louis and attended Cardinal games before the draft, I knew how lucky I was to be a part of one of the best organizations in all of baseball. Not to mention how great the fans are.
Daniel Solzman: How did it feel to go straight from Belmont to playing for the Johnson City Cardinals and winning the 2010 Appalachian League Championship?
Packy Elkins: I didn’t know what to expect in pro ball, but Mike Shildt is the best in the business when it comes to developing young players and reaching the game the right way. Winning the championship was just the icing on the cake.
Daniel Solzman: You’re from Raleigh, NC–correct? Were you raised to root for the North Carolina State Wolfpack, or the other two North Carolina colleges?
Packy Elkins: As diehard as all of the college fans are in NC, I found myself rooting hard against most of them, especially UNC. The Bruins of Belmont are the way to go.
Daniel Solzman: What is Johnny Rodriguez like as a manager and how has he helped develop you into a better player this season?
Packy Elkins: Johnny Rodriguez is a guy who knows each of his players and knows how to make them great. He made me play all four infield positions and the outfield, knowing that being a utility player would benefit me the most. He led us to the Midwest League Championship last year and we look forward to another ring in Florida in 2012.
Daniel Solzman: What about Jeff Albert and hitting?
Packy Elkins: Jeff Albert is about as good as it gets when it comes to hitting. He takes pride in teaching the game and focusing on attention to detail. He really makes coming to the cage to work a lot of fun early each day.
Daniel Solzman: How did you get the nickname of Packy?
Packy Elkins: Packy came from Patrick, my real name. I somehow caught it early in my life and it stuck ever since. It’s a rare name and it seems to be remembered everywhere I go.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining us. Any final words for the best fans in baseball?
Packy Elkins: Thanks a lot for all of the work you guys do and I’m very proud to be a part of the best organization along with the best fans in baseball.