Danny Valencia: From Boca Raton to the Big Leagues

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Danny Valencia has become a fixture in the Minnesota Twins lineup, playing every day at third base.  

He's looking to build on the 15 home runs he hit last season.  "Just pretty much trying to use the whole field.  I feel I'm doing my best, and I'm being most successful, when I'm using right field, and I don't want to get away from that," Valencia told ESPN 760's Joe Girvan.  

Growing up in Boca Raton, the former University of Miami standout developed the power to leave any ballpark.  He's also trying to get better in the field.  

"I've been working hard on my defense.  I'm happy, you know, I feel like I've been making some good strides.  I feel pretty good out there," Valencia said.  

Improvements aside, the 27-year-old says he's not really big on personal goals.  "I feel if the team has a lot of success, and we win, you know, and we get back to the playoffs, I feel individual success will have to be there so, you know, obviously it's cliché to say it, but the team goals are more important than my individual ones."  

Long before he made the big leagues, Valencia was a star at Spanish River High School and he's still giving back to the Sharks.  

Said Spanish River baseball head coach Bill Harvey, "He's been really nice to us here at Spanish River -- helped us out as far as equipment goes.  Bought our baseball hats for us this year, so we're styling some New Era Major League caps this year, so we're certainly looking good.  So, we appreciate all that Danny does for us."  

Sharks shortstop Cody Meyer is also appreciative.  "It means a lot 'cause, I mean, we've had guys that we've know go up to the pros, and you see 'em.  They don't give back to the community, and it just means a lot to see someone that actually thinks about us -- the little guys down here."

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