Practice makes perfect

New Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Clayton Richard delivered an uplifting message to youngsters at the Twin Lakes Winter Baseball Camp on Thursday.

Speaking in front of 60 youth baseball players at Twin Lakes High School, Richard said countless hours of practice is required to become successful.

“You guys have learned a lot of things about baseball this week. To be good at it, you have to practice every day. Whatever you want to be great at, you have to do it over, and over and over. Once it gets boring, at that point, you’ll probably be great at it,” Richard said. “But you have to do it so often that it will get boring.”

Richard was the guest of Indians coach Jake Burton, who guided Richard from 2000-03 when he was the Mavericks’ No. 1 starter at McCutcheon High School. Burton conducted the three-day camp from Tuesday through Thursday, when the kids learned about the fundamentals of baseball.

Richard, a 10-year major-league veteran, is 68-79 with a 4.46 ERA in 265 appearances. He spent parts of two seasons with the Chicago Cubs (2015-16) and Chicago White Sox (2008-09). The majority of Richard’s career has primarily been as a member of San Diego Padres’ starting rotation (2009-13 and 2016-18).

The Padres traded Richard to the Blue Jays on Sunday.

Richard shared a story about Cincinnati Reds first baseman and 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto.

“Joey Votto is one of the best hitters in all of the big leagues and in all of the world. We were playing the Reds a couple of years ago, and we asked him, ‘What is the hardest thing for you to do during a major league season?’” Richard said. “He said that it gets so boring having to do the exact same thing every day. But that’s what it will take. And it doesn’t matter if it’s baseball, school, music, basketball or golf. If you want to be truly great at something, you have to practice.”

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