How have the workouts been compared to what you were used to in junior college?
"They are definitely different than junior college. They are a lot more intense, more fast paced. This is definitely on a different level compared to junior college. But it's something that I have enjoyed because I like working, I like getting after it."
One of the other junior college guys that I talked to mentioned that you don't have to set up everything when you want to hit or do defensive work. There are managers that do that for you here.
"You get your laundry done (for you). And people treat you unreal. In junior college you are on your on. Here, stuff is already set up for you. People pick up the balls for you. The little stuff is done for you. That is awesome. Earlier today, one of the managers, Brett, came in and helped me and three other guys. He set up the curveball machine for us, fed the balls and helped us pick up the balls."
You are not just a pitcher but you also are a hitter/position player. How are you managing that?
"I'm doing more pitching than hitting right now. It's not that bad. I'll pitch two or three days a week, then hit one day. So, I have to hit a lot on my own."
You dealt with a lot while in junior college due to injuries. You actually were in junior college three years. Now you are completely healed. It must be a thrill to finally be healthy. And not only are you healed but you are a baseball player at Mississippi State, one of the elite programs in the nation.
"Yeah, it is. That is what me and my parents and my girlfriend talked about. I know a lot of other guys have been through a lot. But I have had two back surgeries, a shoulder surgery. It has been tough but going to junior college has paid off for me because I am now here (at Mississippi State). It is definitely awesome."
Were you ever 100% last season?
"I had shoulder surgery in late October. And I completed my throwing program with about three weeks left in the season. I wasn't 100% but I got on the mound because I wanted throw. We had gotten to playoff time so I wanted to throw. But it was bad timing. I only got to throw something like three innings."
What was your velocity during those three innings?
"I was 88 to 89 and that was after just one bullpen. I'm hoping when I get some work with Coach Thompson and my arm is 100% healthy I can finish out front so everything will be down and I'll have a little more (velocity) on it."
What did you do pitching-wise during the summer?
"I threw a ton, probably the most that I have ever thrown. I was long tossing probably five days a week. I didn't throw a lot of bullpens because I was trying to get my arm in shape. I threw maybe two or three. I did a lot of band work. And they sent me a little workout book and I did that all summer."
Do you feel like your arm is a lot stronger after working with it so much during the summer?
"I feel a lot better. My shoulder has felt a ton better. I have forearm tightness. It's nothing serious, just something that you have to work on all the time. You can't just go out and throw and think I feel good, then not do anything. You have to constantly do band work, stretching, everything to keep your arm in shape."
Coach Thompson likes to use a string to help his pitchers keep their throws near the bottom of the strikezone. How have you adjusted to that?
"It's cool because he kind of lets you do your own thing when you are throwing. He lets everybody be themselves and do what they want to do but ever thing is always about the string. You have to finish down around the string. I have never done that before but I like it a lot."
Has it been difficult to stay around the string?
"I have done good. They are hard on you. If you miss even an inch or two above the string it is still considered above the string. But I like it because I feel like it makes you focus a lot more when you are throwing your pin. When I have worked on stuff in the past and it was in the zone it was good. But here, if you are above the string you know you have to get it down because above it is not good enough."
You have to be consistent with your throws and seeing how you do with the string tells you that immediately.
"Yeah, they put up a chart. Each day they chart each pitcher and the other day I was charting my partner and he was charting me. The day after you throw you see the charts and you might see Waddell above seven, string six, below three. That makes you want to work even more because you don't want to see Waddell above 15. You are constantly working on keeping it below or right at it."
How has it been since you have been here at Mississippi State? Has it been everything that you expected it would be or even more?
"It has been better than expected. The first week was definitely overwhelming. Going from junior college where there might have been one or two buildings to here where there are a lot of buildings. Plus there is school and baseball. You are so busy. You hit at 1, then lift at 5, then you have study hall. You are constantly doing stuff. In junior college, you have a lot of down time. But it has been fun. Now, I'm in a habit, in a groove, and I'm really enjoying it."