TROY, NY -- In 2012, the Oakland A's selected Cody Kurz in the seventh round out of a Southern California community college. Kurz was considered a project when he was drafted. The burly right-hander was a two-sport star in high school and had opportunities to play NCAA Division I football as a lineman. Instead, Kurz chose to pursue pitching.
Armed with a mid-90s fastball, Kurz has spent the past three years learning to pitch at the professional level. He has struggled with command and injuries, but he made progress this season and was given an opportunity to pitch outside of the A's Arizona complex for the first time. In 12.2 innings, he has allowed 14 runs, but he continues to make incremental improvements.
Donald Moore spoke with Kurz during a late July roadtrip to upstate New York.
Donald Moore: Hi Cody, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Cody Kurz: Everything is going pretty good. Just having fun and enjoying where I am at being on the East Coast, especially for me being from California, so it's a really good time...I like it.
DM: What are your goals for this season?
CK: Continue to execute my pitches and do whatever I can in situations that I am put into, and do whatever helps the team the most.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
CK: Just my focus and the bus rides and the way we eat. And just be consistent and execute everything I have to do and make the routine plays and get ahead.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a pitcher?
CK: The movement on my ball because I'm not a big movement guy. I throw my pitches really late and they have a jumping action to it and it misses a lot of bats. The velocity has been pretty good ever since coming back from knee surgery and everything has been kind of clicking and going smoothly.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
CK: I really like it because I am already an aggressive mentality guy. I like to go after batters and I don't shy away as much. So I like it because these guys are trying to hit a home run every time they are up at-bat. It is kind of fun competition. I like it. It's awesome and fun.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional athlete?
CK: It is really cool and I like it. It's still just a game, being called a professional or not, it is still a game. You've got to do all the work, execute and routines and work very hard to succeed.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
CK: Our basic shadow that we do is what I like a lot. It gets me into my mechanics. It gets me to feeling my body and my knee and feel where my arm needs to be pitch-to-pitch. It makes it easy to throw the ball where I want.
DM: Any hobbies?
CK: Fishing, hunting, anything pretty much outdoors. Right now, I have been fishing a ton in Vermont, hitting the rivers, hitting the lakes, love catching the small mouth bass.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
CK: I really wasn't a favorite team kind of guy. I really more a player and admired players. I was a hitter all my life, so I admired Barry Bonds growing up. He was my favorite guy growing up.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
CK: On my mental side, my guy back home, Matthew Merricks. He has helped me out a ton on maturing as a pitcher and with my mechanics. He has helped me out immensely. And in my trust in God.
DM: Craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
CK: I have seen pretty baffling routine fly balls drop. I think that is pretty unreal. It just shows you it happens from little league to the pros.
DM: Where do you see yourself and your baseball career in the future?
CK: Obviously, like everyone has said, make it to the big leagues, but moving up and succeeding. God has a plan for wherever I end up. If it's in the cards to be there, I'll be there. It's all on God's timing.
DM: Cody, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
CK: Thank you.