LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Outfielder Tristan Pompey knows a thing or two about Whitaker Bank Ballpark. He's been there many times before Saturday's Legends game against Greensboro.
"I've always come to Legends games every now and then with some of my teammates."
Pompey will actually be playing this time around, getting the start in right field for the Grasshoppers. The former Kentucky Wildcat is making his South Atlantic League debut in the town where he made a name for himself.
"It's good to be on the other side of things, the professional side of things. Now I'm on the field looking into the stands, seeing my friends coming out to watch me. It's going to be a pretty cool experience."
Pompey was the 89th overall pick by the Miami Marlins in the June draft. After hitting .335 in 50 games this past season with the Wildcats, Pompey said the biggest adjustment for him isn't at the plate -- it's in the outfield.
"Probably my defense. Coming from the metal bat to the wood bat, you have to adjust to the sounds that you hear from the bat," Pompey said.. "Hitting is kind of the same. Just keep finding the barrel the best you can. That’s the name of the game."
Pompey made his pro debut with the Marlins' GCL team and he hit .250 (3-for-12, 1 RBI in 4 games).
The Toronot native said he's also had to adjust to the business of baseball.
"There's no coaches getting you up, waking you up, telling you what to do," he said. "You're on your own. If you miss the bus, you miss the bus on your own."
"It comes with being a professional athlete," he continued. "You've got to be more responsible. That's how you become a professional and keep moving up."
Pompey said playing in the Southeastern Conference helped prepare him for pro ball and he said the pitching in the SEC is better than what he's seen in the minor leagues.
"Here, it's more like they're just throwing hard and trying to throw it over the plate. In the SEC, they're really locating pitches. It's definitely prepared me well."
The Grasshoppers and the Legends play a four-game series this weekend.