With spring training underway, we had the chance to catch-up with former Diamond Dukes who are now playing professionally. The alumni gave advice, talked about what made JMU’s program unique and their upcoming season. Here is what 2012 draft pick D.J. Brown had to say.
What advice would you give to a college baseball player looking to go professional?
Enjoy college baseball and don't look forward too much at professional baseball because you can never go back. Play each game like it is your last because you never know when an injury can end your career.
What has been the biggest challenge and reward while playing professionally?
The biggest challenge is being away from home and not being able to pitch yet. I had shoulder surgery in December 2011 which has sidelined me until last October when the season was already over. I'm healthy now and ready to pitch which is very exciting. The biggest reward is being able to chase my dream and play at the next level.
How did playing at JMU influence your baseball career?
JMU helped me become a better pitcher. Going professional probably was not an option for me when I was a freshman. If I did not play at JMU I would not be able to live my dream.
What made the JMU program unique while you were there?
Well only one team in the CAA can call themselves champions each year and we did that my sophomore year. That was an experience I'll never forget. We had a great group of guys each year I was there and I now have friends that I'll have forever.
What is your favorite memory from JMU baseball?
Winning the CAA championship in 2011 and going to UNC for the regional. Baseball could not have been any more fun at that time. Even though we came up short in the regional we beat two other teams and lost to UNC who ended up being one of the top teams in the nation.
What is your favorite memory from professional baseball?
So far all I have really done is extensive rehab to make sure I'm healthy. But meeting new guys and making new friends along with having former JMU teammate Jake Lowery with the Indians as well makes it a lot of fun. Also seeing Major League players around the clubhouse for spring training is pretty cool. I'm looking forward to making more memories as I play this year.
What are your goals for the upcoming professional season?
I am hoping to make the Low A team in Lake County Ohio after spring training and go from there. It all depends on how well I pitch at this level and staying healthy. I am hoping to play in Carolina (High A) sometime during the season which would be a step up and also closer to home so my family could come to more games.