Brewers' Keston Hiura is using his SoCal baseball roots to inform rookie success

Written By Dan Bernstein
(Getty Images)

Throughout the 2019 MLB season, Sporting News will run short interviews with players, highlighting what fans might not know about them.

In this edition, SN's Dan Bernstein got two minutes with Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura, one of the best rookies in baseball this year.

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SPORTING NEWS: Is there a Brewers veteran who has taken you under his wing during your rookie breakout?

KESTON HIURA: Everyone has kind of done their part to make me feel welcome up here. We've got Yeli, Moose, Brauny. I was able to play a lot with Tyler Saladino in Triple-A. Everyone here has been welcoming me with open arms.

SN: Any good advice from them?

KH: Just to enjoy it up here.

SN: Toughest pitcher you’ve faced so far in the big leagues?

KH: I don’t know, there’s a lot out there. Everyone at this level is pretty elite. It’s a constant challenge every single game.

SN: I’m gonna need one. It doesn’t have to be the only difficult matchup.

KH: I’d say maybe Jake Arrieta then. He had a pretty good sinker that mixes really well with his other pitches. He’s a guy that stuck out to me.

SN: You’re known as someone who’s hit well at pretty much every level. Was there ever a point you felt doubt?

KH: I think it was my elbow in college. I partially tore it and I had to deal with that for a couple of years. That was the thing that really challenged me not only physically but mentally as well. At the end of the day, looking back on that and seeing how I overcame that has been pretty pleasing.

SN: Was there a single player you grew up wanting to emulate?

KH: Not really, not really. I just grew up a fan of baseball. I grew up in the Los Angeles area, so I was able to go to a lot of Dodgers games and take in a lot that way. 

When I was over at Irvine, a lot of MLB players would come and work out before spring training in the offseason. I just remember (Nolan) Arenado being one of those guys to come in there every single day. It was amazing to see his work ethic and see what he did all around the field. He’s a good guy, and I’ve grown a good relationship with him. 

SN: What do you most enjoy doing off the field?

KH: When I was younger, and I had more time, I would go to the beach in Southern California and hang out there. Watch movies, too. Wasn't a big gamer or anything like that. I also like to explore and get outdoors as much as possible.

SN: Impression of Milwaukee as a city?

KH: I’m enjoying it a lot so far. When I first went there to sign my contract, it was exciting. I definitely said all right, I’ll do what I can to get back here as soon as I can. 

Luckily, I haven’t experienced the winter yet, but I’m loving it so far.

SN: Last question. Who would win in a fight between Mike Moustakas and an actual moose?

KH: Ooh. I mean, I don’t know, put a bat in Mike’s hand and he might do the job.

SN: But bare hands it’s a different story?

KH: Yeah, I’d think so. But it would be pretty cool if he could take it down.

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