Jose Capellan Interview - Part Two
SHANKS: Whenever you signed to play with the Braves and they placed you in the Dominican Republic, did you play close to home or did you have to play far away?
CAPELLAN: No I had to go away from home. It was six hours from my house. It was the first time I had been away from my house and my family. My mom told me that after a while I would get use to it. That way it was just like the first came to the United States. I wanted to go home. It was just that I was just used to not being away from my house.
SHANKS: Did the Tommy John surgery help you become a better pitcher?
CAPELLAN: Tommy John. For me, the surgery helped me. The doctor did a good job. I think God just had that planned for me.
SHANKS: Whenever you came back from the operation, were you apprehensive that it could happen again?
CAPELLAN: I think with everybody when you come back and you throw you are scared. You think about it, but you can't dwell on it. You never know. You don't feel any pain when it happens. It did not hurt but it's been a long time since you've thrown, so the first time is a bit scary.
SHANKS: When did you feel like you were really recovered from the surgery?
CAPELLAN: Really and truly I don't think about it. But you know you've had it. It's there. Nobody can control the pain. A lot of times I was pitching and it hurt. But the doctor told me that it was the secondary effects from the operation and to not worry about it. They told me to just go pitch. I believe it was right because I finished playing last year and then this year it's been fine.
SHANKS: When you were in the Instructional League you impressed Cox and Schuerholz. Do you remember that? Did you try to impress them?
CAPELLAN: No. I can do only what I can do. I was not trying to impress them. I am one of the people that believe you can only do what you can do. I pitched just like I pitched any other time, just like it was my first day in Myrtle Beach. I always pitch the same way every time. When it's my turn to pitch, I'm not going to change anything.
SHANKS: Did you win that day?
CAPELLAN: We won. We won that day.
SHANKS: Let's talk about this year – from spring training until today.
CAPELLAN: I came over here on February 1st. I was over here working at Camp Leo. I was working real hard. I pitched real hard in spring training but I did not make the team. I have confidence in what I've got. I did not make the team because I needed to go to work in the minor leagues. I had work to do. I went to Class A and now I'm here.
SHANKS: The control you have right now is better than spring training, right?
CAPELLAN: Since I started pitching in the Dominican Republic I always had good control. In spring training, they wanted me to throw fastballs. Everybody can hit that. I was just throwing straight and hard. Now I'm throwing a slider, change up, and fast pitch.
SHANKS: When you're throwing 98, when do you drop down with your changeup? How fast is that?
CAPELLAN: About 85 or 83. Whenever I'm pitching good, they are expecting a fastball.
SHANKS: How much better of a pitcher are you now than you were in spring training?
CAPELLAN: What makes me a better pitcher now is the pitches that I'm throwing. The control is better than it was in spring training. I'm not going to deny that. With only throwing one pitch, it's a lot easier to hit.
SHANKS: Do you want to be a starter or reliever?
CAPELLAN: I always like to start. But that's not for me to decide. I like to start, but whatever vision the Braves have for him is what I want to do.
SHANKS: With all the innings that you've pitched this year, have you proved your arm is sound?
CAPELLAN: I pitched about 145 innings. I don't think that anyone can have any doubts about my arm holding up. If they want me to start, I'll be glad to start. If they want me to go to the bullpen, I'll be glad to go to the bullpen. But I don't think they have any doubt that my arm will be able to handle it. I'll do whatever they want me to do.
SHANKS: How much better are your breaking pitches?
CAPELLAN: They're better than they were. The change up is much better. That helps the other pitches too.
SHANKS: Have you learned this year to back up off that fastball and not always throw 100?
CAPELLAN: Yes. That's how I've been pitching all year. But when I need it, I do try to throw as hard as I can. When I need it, I go for it.
SHANKS: Smoltz said he was excited to see you pitch. I know everyone is excited to see you pitch. There's a buzz around your debut.
CAPPY: Yea I know that a lot of people are anticipating me pitching. I'm hoping to pitch a good game.
SHANKS: Are you nervous?
CAPELLAN: No. This is a baseball game just like the others. I don't think I'll be nervous at all.
SHANKS: Do you think you can help the Braves in the playoffs?
CAPELLAN: Like I always tell you, I trust what I got. If they make the decision to take me to the playoffs to help them I've got the confidence that I'll be able to help them. I will give them 100%. Given the opportunity, I think I can help them. I trust what I've got.
SHANKS: K-Rod. Can you make that type of impact?
CAPELLAN: I hope in God that I can.
SHANKS: Do you have any family coming Sunday?
CAPELLAN: No. I was thinking of bringing my mama. But she's not able to come.
SUNDAY AFTER THE GAME
REPORTER: How did you feel about not wining your first game?
CAPELLAN: No I feel good. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose.
REPORTER: Were you nervous? Was that why your control was off early on?
CAPELLAN: No I was not nervous. I don't know what was wrong. But I was not really nervous. A little something was wrong but I don't know. It had nothing to do with nerves. That's baseball. I was tight but I got lose in the second inning.
REPORTER: Why did you have trouble with your curveball?
CAPELLAN: I don't know. It was just one of those days when the curve was not working. Some days the curve works and some days it doesn't.
REPORTER: Was there a difference between the minors and what you saw today?
CAPELLAN: Yea the batters are better. But I pitched my normal game.
REPORTER: Is this something you've wanted to do your whole life?
CAPELLAN: Yes imagine that's everybody's dream that plays baseball. Everyone wants to play in the major leagues.
REPORTER: Did you have fun?
CAPELLAN: Yes I had a lot of fun. I felt good out there.
REPORTER: Have you heard if you're going to start again?
CAPELLAN: Up until now I haven't heard anything.
A reporter then told Capellan that Bobby Cox said in his post game press conference that if Mike Hampton cannot pitch, he would step into the rotation.
CAPELLAN: I'll be ready.
REPORTER: Did the pitch count get you out of the game?
CAPELLAN: Yea I had a lot of pitches. The pitch count was high but I could have continued. They told me it was the pitch count.
REPORTER: What's the difference between Rome and Atlanta?
CAPELLAN: About 100% bigger. 400% bigger. (Laughing)
Bill Shanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org