Around the Bases with Michael Morin

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Diamond Heels closer Michael Morin has not given up a run in 10 appearances this season, while earning six saves. For last week's performances, he earned ACC and national Pitcher of the Week honors. Inside Carolina caught up with him this week for an interview ...

Last week you got into five games, earning four saves and a win with seven strikeouts - how do you reflect on that performance?
"I don't think I could have done a whole lot better, let's just leave it at that. Definitely something I will remember forever but I mean we have another game today ... Coach Fox always preaches us just tells us to flush it good or bad. Either enjoy it or flush it out real quick because you have another one coming. So as good as it was I still have to focus yesterday and today. It was good but it is time to move on."

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What was it like when you found out you were the ACC Pitcher of the Week?
"It was a huge honor. Obviously you know it is nice to be recognized but it was a team effort. If we were not in any of those games I would not have had the opportunity to pitch so it is not all about me."

How is your health after being shut down in the fall?
"I had surgery this summer and there have been extensive hours of rehab that have really helped my shoulder, actually not so much my elbow. Obviously we have been continuing to work on that [the elbow] but the shoulder stabilization and that type of work has allowed me to gain arm strength. I could have pitched in the fall but it would have been towards the end so I continued to work on long toss and gain more arm strength. I think that has helped me out a lot."

For most of your playing career you have been a starting pitcher. How has the adjustment been for your arm recovery and your weekly schedule in the closer's role?
"It is a lot more extra hours to be honest with you. As a starter you have a set role where you are starting Friday, Saturday or Sunday or whatever. Then you have a bullpen three days before so you have a set lifting schedule and routine but I got the hang of [the closer role] towards the end of last season with what my body can handle and can't handle in terms of lifting, conditioning and running. But at the same time you can not be afraid to lift a little too much or to run a little too much because you might not pitch the next day. There is a fine line but I think I was able to kind of master it last year so it has been easier this year."

How closely does Coach Forbes monitor how your arm is feeling and your weekly routine?
"He will come up to me every day and ask me how I'm doing. He will come with me for suggestions in the fall with suggestions of what I should be doing. However, he also said that I am one of the older guys and I can do whatever I want basically since I know how my body is feeling. We work together and he definitely gives me the freedom to allow me to do whatever I want but at the same time he is in my ear every day just making sure I am feeling OK and he is definitely protective of my arm."

How do you feel the team is doing as far as being on course for your goals for this season?
"We are definitely on track. Well, not [this loss to Gardner-Webb] certainly, but last week [at Clemson] starting off and going into a hostile environment and just being able to grind it out especially the Sunday game proving we can come back and never say die until the last out. That is a great way to start off the season on the road especially since we have a lot of young guys and them getting the ACC experience of fans and the whole experience was a good way to start off. Hopefully we can continue the success this weekend at Maryland."

What advice do you have for the younger guys about the environment around the Bosh once basketball season concludes and the attention turns to baseball during the stretch run and post-season?
"It is an easier transition in high school - there were not too many fans and you progress and progress and progress, so easing all of those guys into it without jumping right into a high pressure environment will help out a lot."

Have you come up with your plans for the summer already?
"I have no idea. I could end up in the Cape if I only throw a certain number of innings and if I'm planning on coming back. If Coach Forbes shuts me down or the draft, that is the one question mark and that is 40 or 50 games away so that is the least of my concerns."

Speaking of the Cape League - how do you think the experience of Coach Woodard having the opportunity to coach this summer for Orleans as the pitching coach will help his development as a coach?
"He found out and we were down on Ehringhaus doing something and he told me. That is something he wants to do. He wants to be a coach so that is a really neat connection up there and to be able to be up there and not be around us and be around some new guys that he doesn't know and some great talent, he can continue to put that on his resume. I am really happy for him, he is a good guy and he works his butt off."

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