Newly acquired Berry still a tiger in Pawtucket

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Atlanta BravesYou can take the Tiger out of Detroit, but you can’t take the tiger out of the man.

That’s basically the line former Detroit Tiger Quintin Berry will be living by for the rest of the season as a member of the Boston Red Sox organization, which acquired the outfielder on Tuesday from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for right-hander Clayton Mortensen.

Berry, 28, will need all the ammunition to rebound from what has been an abysmal calender year in which he’s endured a drastic fall from starting on a World Series team, to being designated for assignment twice by Detroit and Kansas City, respectively, after shoddy showings in Triple-A.

“It’s been a tough season, really tough season,” Berry said from the PawSox clubhouse prior to Thursday night’s contest against the Syracuse Chiefs. “I’ve said to people before ‘it’s not really physical, it’s all mental.’ Lots of things have happened, and I’ve been fighting those battles with myself in the box as well as in the clubhouse, at home in bed and at the table.”

“[I’m] just trying to get through it, but [the trade] has allowed me to relax and understand that people still think I can play and that I can help. To be wanted is a huge blessing.”

Another huge blessing this season for Berry has been Omaha Storm Chasers first baseman Chase Lambin, an 11-year minor-league veteran who’s weathered more than his fair share of tough seasons during his career. Lambin served as Berry’s mentor and roommate during his 48-game stint with Kansas City’s Triple-A affiliate, telling the younger Berry to exhibit aggressiveness at the plate similar to that of a tiger — an Apollo Creed-esque approach to mentoring.

“He told me to not be passive player,” Berry said on Lambin’s advice. “He had this whole concept of being a tiger. We all go through times of being a rabbit in the box. But if you’re going in there as a tiger ready to attack, and not be passive but be aggressive, that success will follow. That’s been helping me be the player I’m capable of being lately.”

“He’s been huge for me getting my mind set and that’s a huge reason why I went to Omaha was to be with him. He’s really got me back to being really confident in the box.”

In 172 plate appearances with the Storm Chasers, Berry batted .222/.343/.292, a slight improvement from his .168/.278/.234 line in 199 plate appearances with the Mud Hens but an improvement nonetheless. He now hopes to make an impact with the Red Sox organization, either starting in Pawtucket or as a serviceable pinch runner in Boston (Berry was 21-for-21 in stolen base attempts with Detroit last season). But regardless of where he’ll be providing his service to, Berry will try to maintain an aggressive approach.

“Very much so,” Berry said when asked if he’ll heed Lambin’s advice and play aggressive for the rest of the season. “You should see pretty much all I got coming at you the rest of the time I’m playing this season and hopefully I don’t lose that. I’m just going to play, and whatever happens, happens.”

“I’m excited to be here. [It] seems like a great clubhouse, great team – more my style of organization, laid back, let’s you play and enjoy the game. I’m not expecting much — just come here to play and do whatever I can to help the team win.”