Troy Percival: I was out there for a couple of weeks and got to see quite a few of them. I didn't get to see any games, but I got to see the workouts and familiarize myself with a couple of their faces.
With what you knew about the system, did anyone particularly surprise you with their stuff?
TP: I didn't know much of anything (going in). If you're in the big leagues that long, you've kinda lost touch with what you got down below. There were definitely some high quality arms out there. (Nick) Adenhardt and (Stephen) Marek were both really solid.
I was just getting to know the guys, so I didn't do a lot of work with them. I did work mechanically with a few guys – Trevor Bell, Marek a little bit. I'll start (working with guys more) when I start roving around.
What do you want to teach the pitchers you'll work with this year?
TP: The mentality of pitching. How to be a big leaguer. How to get people out. Not to be out there to be pretty, but get out there and get the job done.
I know how much I love to pass on and work with kids. I even love working with the big-league guys, but this is where I really feel comfortable because I know that I can really help groom some of these kids.
When will you start making your trips out to the affiliates?
TPI'll probably be here more than anywhere because it's a 30 minute drive from home and right now, with my son in little league and I'm his coach, I'm not traveling around until he's done. And that gives these guys a little time to get their feet under them. You never want to get out there and start evaluating people in the first two weeks. It takes guys a little time to get themselves going.
What advice will you give to guys like Aldridge and Arredondo who are working on the closer's role?
TPL What their job is is to get people out and win the game. If you've got a three run lead I don't care if you give up two or have a two run lead and give up one – your job is to get the save. It took me a while and I got that into Frankie's mind over there and now he's a lot easier on himself instead of being so hard on himself every time he gives up a run. It makes it a lot easier to come back the next day if you're not focusing on ‘I didn't pitch great yesterday.' It doesn't matter – you got the job done. Situational pitching is so huge in the ninth inning. It's something I can really bring to somebody's attention –what a hitter is trying to do in a situation. What you allow a guy to do. Don't give up a pitch that can be hit for a home run in a one-run ballgame. If you've got a two run ballgame, go ahead and get the ball in there and see if they can turn on it. There's a lot of mind games that go on as you get up higher.
How much do you think you helped shepherd Frankie into the closer role?
TP: After I talk to him now, I realize I had a bigger impact than I thought at the time because he was pretty stubborn to start with. Knowing I was grooming him for my role – I was helping him and I go and talk to him now and he says, ‘Man I realize now everything you were doing was to help me and I should have learned it a little quicker.' But he appreciated it and thanked me, and that made me feel good because I really have his best interest at heart the whole time.