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Gio Brusa says defense is a focus in short-season ball

The Giants’ sixth round pick is working on becoming a better fielder with Salem-Keizer.

Gio Brusa steps on home plate after hitting a three-run home run on Jul. 23.
Jen Mac Ramos

KEIZER, ORE. — The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes’ Gio Brusa wants to get better at fielding.

Brusa, the San Francisco Giants’ sixth round pick out of the University of the Pacific, says one thing he’s looking forward to in his first summer of professional ball is to be a better outfielder.

"Your reads can always use improvement, and your initial read is the biggest part of outfielding, so if I can get the best possible read that I can, I’ll be happy with that," Brusa says.

Coaches also want Brusa to work on his defense, and he says that’s one thing they’ve identified for him to get better at.

"They’ve given me some stuff in the outfield to work on, you know, balls getting hit over my head, trying to get behind them," Brusa says. "I’ve gotten a little bit of work at first base, which is kind of fun. Trying something new."

As far as swing mechanics go, Brusa says the adjustments are mental.

"Honestly, I’m a big mental guy, and I’m a firm believer that a lot of mechanics can be cured with your mentality and what is going on between your ears, so I just try and visualize and have a clear head and go from there," Brusa says.

Currently, Brusa is hitting .263/.306/.474 with the Volcanoes. He also has six home runs and 23 RBI. Brusa says he sees himself as more of a player who can hit to all fields.

"I like to drive the ball the other way," Brusa says. "Hit it where it’s pitched is kind of the thing to do."

He says he doesn’t have any performance goals numbers-wise this summer, but it’s just about going out there.

"Hitting the ball hard and competing and helping my team win," Brusa says, "because I think that if you take care of those things the rest will fall into place. "

Brusa was previously drafted in 2012 out of St. Mary’s High School (Stockton, Calif.) by the Atlanta Braves in the 37th round and in 2015 after his junior year at Pacific by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 23rd round. Brusa says his family was always on the Giants side of things growing up and it’s a "true blessing" to play for the organization.

"My sister actually lives in San Francisco," Brusa says. "[I] can’t imagine anything cooler than going to them and being local."

And the adjustment from playing college ball to pro ball has been "pretty smooth," he says.

"It’s definitely different but it’s what you dream of as a kid," Brusa says. "Being able to play baseball every day and I think that the experiences that God has given me in the past have prepared me for this day and the journey ahead."